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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Model forms (Sec. 300.509)

Comment: None.

Discussion: In reviewing this section, we realized that the language in paragraph (a) might incorrectly be read to suggest that parties other than parents and public agencies could file due process complaints.

Changes: We have amended the language of Sec. 300.509(a) to clarify that only parents and public agencies can file due process complaints, while parents, public agencies, and other parties can file State complaints.

Comment: One commenter suggested including a statement in Sec. 300.509 clarifying that parents can use a model form, create their own form, or use a form created by their attorney, as long as it meets the requirements of the Act.

Discussion: We agree that the use of the model forms should not be required by an SEA or LEA, and that parents (or other parties filing a State complaint) may use some other form of notice, so long as their notice meets the content requirements of the Act. We are clarifying this in Sec. 300.509.

Changes: We have restructured Sec. 300.509 and clarified that SEAs or LEAs cannot require the use of the model forms. We have added a new paragraph (b) to Sec. 300.509 to provide that parents and other parties may use another form, so long as the form that is used meets the content requirements in Sec. 300.508(b) for filing a due process complaint, or the requirements in Sec. 300.153(b) for filing a State complaint.

Comment: A few commenters requested language requiring the State to work with the State PTI and CPRC to develop the model forms so that they are written in a manner that parents can understand.

Discussion: It would be over-regulating to require a State to work with a particular group or groups to develop their model forms. We believe that such decisions are best made by each State and, therefore, decline to require a State to work with the State PTI and CPRC to develop the model forms. However, States must comply with the public participation requirements in Sec. 300.165 and section 612(a)(19) of the Act prior to adopting a model form. To meet the public participation requirements, the State must ensure that there are public hearings and an opportunity for comment available to the general public, including individuals with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities.

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters recommended that the regulations clarify that a hearing officer may not determine that a due process complaint is insufficient in any State that has not developed the model forms required in Sec. 300.509.

Discussion: It would be inappropriate to prohibit a hearing officer from finding that a complaint is insufficient if the receiving party properly challenges the sufficiency of the complaint in accordance with Sec. 300.508(d)(1) because the State has failed to develop the model forms in accordance with Sec. 300.509 and section 615(b)(8) of the Act. Development of the model forms is a State responsibility and parties to a due process hearing should not be penalized because a State fails to meet the requirements in section 615(b)(8) of the Act. The Department is authorized to impose sanctions on a State, in accordance with section 616(d), (e), and (g) of the Act, if it fails to develop the model forms required in Sec. 300.509.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter recommended that model forms should be developed to assist education agencies in filing a due process complaint.

Discussion: We disagree with the commenter. We believe that the due process complaint requirements in Sec. 300.508 provide sufficient information for education agencies that wish to file a due process complaint.

Changes: None.