PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS NOTICE
A hearing or reviewing officer may grant specific extensions of time beyond the periods described above (45 calendar days for a hearing decision and 30 calendar days for a review decision) if you or the LEA make a request for a specific extension of the timeline. Each hearing involving oral arguments must be conducted at a time and place that is reasonably convenient to you or your child.
Any party (you or the LEA) who does not agree with the findings and decision in the SEA’s decision has the right to bring a civil action with respect to the matter that was the subject of the due process hearing (including a hearing relating to disciplinary procedures). The action may be brought in a district court of the United States without regard to the amount in dispute or in a State court of competent jurisdiction (a State court that has authority to hear this type of case). In Pennsylvania, the court of competent jurisdiction is the Commonwealth Court.
The party (you or the LEA) bringing the action in a district court of the United States shall have 90 calendar days from the date of the decision of the SEA to file a civil action. The party bringing the action in the Commonwealth Court shall have 30 calendar days from the date of the decision of the SEA to file a civil action.
Receives the records of the administrative proceedings;
Hears additional evidence at your request or at the LEA’s request;
Bases its decision on the preponderance of the evidence and grants the relief that the court determines to be appropriate.
Rule of construction
Nothing in Part B of the IDEA restricts or limits the rights, procedures, and remedies available under the U.S. Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), or other Federal laws protecting the rights of children with disabilities, except that before the filing of a civil action under these laws seeking relief that is also available under Part B of the IDEA, the due process procedures described above must be exhausted to the same extent as would be required if the party filed the action under Part B of the IDEA. This means that you may have remedies available under other laws that overlap with those available under the IDEA, but in general, to obtain relief under those other laws, you must first exhaust the available under the IDEA, but in general, to obtain relief under those other laws, you must first exhaust the available administrative remedies under the IDEA (i.e., the due process complaint, resolution meeting, and impartial due process hearing procedures) before going into court unless some specific judicial exception is available which renders exhaustion of administrative remedies futile.
In any action or proceeding brought under Part B of the IDEA, the court, in its discretion, may award reasonable attorneys’ fees as part of the costs:
To you if you are considered the prevailing part.
To a prevailing State Educational Agency or LEA, to be paid by your attorney, if the attorney: (a) filed a complaint or court case that the court finds is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation; (b) continued to litigate after the litigation clearly became frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation;
To a prevailing State Educational Agency or LEA, to be paid by you or your attorney, if your request for a due process hearing or later court case was presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, to cause unnecessary delay, or to unnecessarily increase the cost of the action or proceeding.
16July 2008 Revisions