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Section 5

ak dept education

special ed handbook

The Department will review, investigate, and take appropriate action on administrative complaints alleging that a district or other educational agency is acting contrary to state or federal requirements for special education. If the complainant's native language is other than English, proxy may file the written complaint.

Administrative complaints must allege violations that occurred not more than 1 year prior to the date of receipt, unless a longer period is reasonable because the violation is continuing, or the complainant is requesting compensatory services for a violation that occurred not more than 3 years before the complaint was received.

Any party has a right to present an administrative complaint within 1 year of when the parents or agency knew, or should have known, of the alleged violation relating to identification, evaluation or educational placement of the child, or the provision of FAPE to such child.

An administrative complaint may allege a systematic violation, a violation of the right of a specific child or both. A separate administrative complaint must be filed for each individual child whose specific rights are at issue. The Department may consolidate two or more related complaints for the purpose of investigation, but will separate decisions if necessary to preserve confidentiality.

An administrative complaint may be filed by any party, organization or person (including from another state) and must be in writing. Administrative complaints should be made to the Department, with a copy provided to the District, and include at least the following information:
  1. Date
  2. Name of District or agency the administrative complaint is against
  3. Name, address and telephone number of the person making the complaint
  4. The name of the child, the address of the residence of the child (or available contact information in the case of a homeless child), and the name of the school the child is attending; and telephone number of the child or children involved
  5. An explanation of how the District or agency is alleged to have violated federal or state requirements
  6. The facts upon which the allegation or allegations are based
  7. The date of each alleged violation or, in the case of an alleged continuing violation, the date that the first violation took place and the history of the continuing violation up to the date of the complaint
  8. An administrative complaint must be signed.

    Send signed written complaint to:

    Special Education Dispute Resolution
    Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
    Teaching and Learning Support, Special Education
    801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
    P.O. Box 110500
    Juneau, Alaska 99811-0500

    Or fax to: (907) 465-2806
    Attention: Special Education Dispute Resolution
Upon receipt of a written and signed administrative complaint, the Department will:
  1. Notify the District or agency of the alleged violations.
  2. Evaluate the complaint to determine whether the Department can accept the complaint as submitted for processing, and notify the complainant if the complaint cannot be processed for any reason.
  3. Assist the complainant to clarify the allegations in the complaint, and give the complainant the opportunity to submit additional information.
  4. Work with the complainant and with the District or agency to resolve the issues in a non-adversarial manner, if possible.
  5. Undertake an independent investigation that may include interviews of the parties and their employees, a review of all relevant documentation, and an on-site investigation.
Within 60 days after an accepted administrative complaint and completion of the investigation, a written decision will be issued to the complainant and the school district or agency. The investigative report will address each allegation in the administrative complaint and will include:
  1. A summary of the complaint
  2. A summary of the investigation
  3. Conclusions that address each allegation including:
    • Reasons for the final decision
    • Any corrective action required
An extension of the time limit will be allowed only if exceptional circumstances exist with respect to a particular administrative complaint and are documented by the Department. An extension of the time limit should not be based on the fact that there is pending mediation unless both parties agree to the extension.

The Department will ensure that a District effectively implements the final decision contained in the investigative report that may include corrective actions and technical assistance activities. If it is determined that a District failed to provide appropriate services, the investigative report issued by the Department will address:
  1. How to remediate the denial of those services including, as appropriate, the awarding of monetary reimbursement or other corrective action to meet the child's needs.
  2. Appropriate future provision of all services for all children with disabilities.

The complaint investigation report issued by the Department is the final administrative resolution of the complaint. If a party does not agree with the resolution, the party may request a due process hearing for issues described in AS 14.30.193(a). A party that has exhausted its administrative remedies may appeal the final decision of the agency directly to superior court in accordance with Rule 602 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Administrative Complaints and Due Process Hearings

If a written complaint is received that is also the subject of a due process hearing, or the complaint has multiple issues, some of which are being addressed in the due process hearing, the Department will set aside any part of the complaint that is being addressed in the due process hearing until the conclusion of the hearing. However, any issue in the complaint that is not a part of the due process hearing will be investigated within the time limit and under the procedures specified above. If issues raised in a complaint were previously decided in a hearing between the same parties, the Department will inform the complainant that the hearing decision is binding. The Department must investigate a complaint that the District is not implementing a hearing decision.

Private Schools

When Due Process is not applicable:
Administrative complaint procedures or procedural safeguards do not apply to complaints that an LEA has failed to meet the requirements of children enrolled and services provided in private schools, including the provision of services indicated on the child's service plan.

When Due Process is applicable:
Administrative complaint procedures or procedural safeguards do apply to complaints that an LEA has failed to meet the requirements of Child Find and Evaluation and Eligibility.

State Complaints:
Complaints that an SEA or LEA has failed to meet the requirements of children enrolled and services provided in private school, including the provision of services indicated on the child's service plan.

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