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Public Act 100-0122


 

Public Act 0122 100TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  
  

 


 
Public Act 100-0122
 
HB2618 EnrolledLRB100 07312 MLM 17373 b

    AN ACT concerning education.
 
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
 
    Section 5. The School Code is amended by changing Sections
14-8.02 and 14-8.02a as follows:
 
    (105 ILCS 5/14-8.02)  (from Ch. 122, par. 14-8.02)
    Sec. 14-8.02. Identification, evaluation and placement of
children.
    (a) The State Board of Education shall make rules under
which local school boards shall determine the eligibility of
children to receive special education. Such rules shall ensure
that a free appropriate public education be available to all
children with disabilities as defined in Section 14-1.02. The
State Board of Education shall require local school districts
to administer non-discriminatory procedures or tests to
English learners coming from homes in which a language other
than English is used to determine their eligibility to receive
special education. The placement of low English proficiency
students in special education programs and facilities shall be
made in accordance with the test results reflecting the
student's linguistic, cultural and special education needs.
For purposes of determining the eligibility of children the
State Board of Education shall include in the rules definitions
of "case study", "staff conference", "individualized
educational program", and "qualified specialist" appropriate
to each category of children with disabilities as defined in
this Article. For purposes of determining the eligibility of
children from homes in which a language other than English is
used, the State Board of Education shall include in the rules
definitions for "qualified bilingual specialists" and
"linguistically and culturally appropriate individualized
educational programs". For purposes of this Section, as well as
Sections 14-8.02a, 14-8.02b, and 14-8.02c of this Code,
"parent" means a parent as defined in the federal Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401(23)).
    (b) No child shall be eligible for special education
facilities except with a carefully completed case study fully
reviewed by professional personnel in a multidisciplinary
staff conference and only upon the recommendation of qualified
specialists or a qualified bilingual specialist, if available.
At the conclusion of the multidisciplinary staff conference,
the parent of the child shall be given a copy of the
multidisciplinary conference summary report and
recommendations, which includes options considered, and be
informed of their right to obtain an independent educational
evaluation if they disagree with the evaluation findings
conducted or obtained by the school district. If the school
district's evaluation is shown to be inappropriate, the school
district shall reimburse the parent for the cost of the
independent evaluation. The State Board of Education shall,
with advice from the State Advisory Council on Education of
Children with Disabilities on the inclusion of specific
independent educational evaluators, prepare a list of
suggested independent educational evaluators. The State Board
of Education shall include on the list clinical psychologists
licensed pursuant to the Clinical Psychologist Licensing Act.
Such psychologists shall not be paid fees in excess of the
amount that would be received by a school psychologist for
performing the same services. The State Board of Education
shall supply school districts with such list and make the list
available to parents at their request. School districts shall
make the list available to parents at the time they are
informed of their right to obtain an independent educational
evaluation. However, the school district may initiate an
impartial due process hearing under this Section within 5 days
of any written parent request for an independent educational
evaluation to show that its evaluation is appropriate. If the
final decision is that the evaluation is appropriate, the
parent still has a right to an independent educational
evaluation, but not at public expense. An independent
educational evaluation at public expense must be completed
within 30 days of a parent written request unless the school
district initiates an impartial due process hearing or the
parent or school district offers reasonable grounds to show
that such 30 day time period should be extended. If the due
process hearing decision indicates that the parent is entitled
to an independent educational evaluation, it must be completed
within 30 days of the decision unless the parent or the school
district offers reasonable grounds to show that such 30 day
period should be extended. If a parent disagrees with the
summary report or recommendations of the multidisciplinary
conference or the findings of any educational evaluation which
results therefrom, the school district shall not proceed with a
placement based upon such evaluation and the child shall remain
in his or her regular classroom setting. No child shall be
eligible for admission to a special class for children with a
mental disability who are educable or for children with a
mental disability who are trainable except with a psychological
evaluation and recommendation by a school psychologist.
Consent shall be obtained from the parent of a child before any
evaluation is conducted. If consent is not given by the parent
or if the parent disagrees with the findings of the evaluation,
then the school district may initiate an impartial due process
hearing under this Section. The school district may evaluate
the child if that is the decision resulting from the impartial
due process hearing and the decision is not appealed or if the
decision is affirmed on appeal. The determination of
eligibility shall be made and the IEP meeting shall be
completed within 60 school days from the date of written
parental consent. In those instances when written parental
consent is obtained with fewer than 60 pupil attendance days
left in the school year, the eligibility determination shall be
made and the IEP meeting shall be completed prior to the first
day of the following school year. Special education and related
services must be provided in accordance with the student's IEP
no later than 10 school attendance days after notice is
provided to the parents pursuant to Section 300.503 of Title 34
of the Code of Federal Regulations and implementing rules
adopted by the State Board of Education. The appropriate
program pursuant to the individualized educational program of
students whose native tongue is a language other than English
shall reflect the special education, cultural and linguistic
needs. No later than September 1, 1993, the State Board of
Education shall establish standards for the development,
implementation and monitoring of appropriate bilingual special
individualized educational programs. The State Board of
Education shall further incorporate appropriate monitoring
procedures to verify implementation of these standards. The
district shall indicate to the parent and the State Board of
Education the nature of the services the child will receive for
the regular school term while waiting placement in the
appropriate special education class.
    If the child is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually
impaired and he or she might be eligible to receive services
from the Illinois School for the Deaf or the Illinois School
for the Visually Impaired, the school district shall notify the
parents, in writing, of the existence of these schools and the
services they provide and shall make a reasonable effort to
inform the parents of the existence of other, local schools
that provide similar services and the services that these other
schools provide. This notification shall include without
limitation information on school services, school admissions
criteria, and school contact information.
    In the development of the individualized education program
for a student who has a disability on the autism spectrum
(which includes autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder,
pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified,
childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett Syndrome, as
defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV, 2000)), the IEP team shall
consider all of the following factors:
        (1) The verbal and nonverbal communication needs of the
    child.
        (2) The need to develop social interaction skills and
    proficiencies.
        (3) The needs resulting from the child's unusual
    responses to sensory experiences.
        (4) The needs resulting from resistance to
    environmental change or change in daily routines.
        (5) The needs resulting from engagement in repetitive
    activities and stereotyped movements.
        (6) The need for any positive behavioral
    interventions, strategies, and supports to address any
    behavioral difficulties resulting from autism spectrum
    disorder.
        (7) Other needs resulting from the child's disability
    that impact progress in the general curriculum, including
    social and emotional development.
Public Act 95-257 does not create any new entitlement to a
service, program, or benefit, but must not affect any
entitlement to a service, program, or benefit created by any
other law.
    If the student may be eligible to participate in the
Home-Based Support Services Program for Adults with Mental
Disabilities authorized under the Developmental Disability and
Mental Disability Services Act upon becoming an adult, the
student's individualized education program shall include plans
for (i) determining the student's eligibility for those
home-based services, (ii) enrolling the student in the program
of home-based services, and (iii) developing a plan for the
student's most effective use of the home-based services after
the student becomes an adult and no longer receives special
educational services under this Article. The plans developed
under this paragraph shall include specific actions to be taken
by specified individuals, agencies, or officials.
    (c) In the development of the individualized education
program for a student who is functionally blind, it shall be
presumed that proficiency in Braille reading and writing is
essential for the student's satisfactory educational progress.
For purposes of this subsection, the State Board of Education
shall determine the criteria for a student to be classified as
functionally blind. Students who are not currently identified
as functionally blind who are also entitled to Braille
instruction include: (i) those whose vision loss is so severe
that they are unable to read and write at a level comparable to
their peers solely through the use of vision, and (ii) those
who show evidence of progressive vision loss that may result in
functional blindness. Each student who is functionally blind
shall be entitled to Braille reading and writing instruction
that is sufficient to enable the student to communicate with
the same level of proficiency as other students of comparable
ability. Instruction should be provided to the extent that the
student is physically and cognitively able to use Braille.
Braille instruction may be used in combination with other
special education services appropriate to the student's
educational needs. The assessment of each student who is
functionally blind for the purpose of developing the student's
individualized education program shall include documentation
of the student's strengths and weaknesses in Braille skills.
Each person assisting in the development of the individualized
education program for a student who is functionally blind shall
receive information describing the benefits of Braille
instruction. The individualized education program for each
student who is functionally blind shall specify the appropriate
learning medium or media based on the assessment report.
    (d) To the maximum extent appropriate, the placement shall
provide the child with the opportunity to be educated with
children who do not have a disability; provided that children
with disabilities who are recommended to be placed into regular
education classrooms are provided with supplementary services
to assist the children with disabilities to benefit from the
regular classroom instruction and are included on the teacher's
regular education class register. Subject to the limitation of
the preceding sentence, placement in special classes, separate
schools or other removal of the child with a disability from
the regular educational environment shall occur only when the
nature of the severity of the disability is such that education
in the regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and
services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. The placement of
English learners with disabilities shall be in non-restrictive
environments which provide for integration with peers who do
not have disabilities in bilingual classrooms. Annually, each
January, school districts shall report data on students from
non-English speaking backgrounds receiving special education
and related services in public and private facilities as
prescribed in Section 2-3.30. If there is a disagreement
between parties involved regarding the special education
placement of any child, either in-state or out-of-state, the
placement is subject to impartial due process procedures
described in Article 10 of the Rules and Regulations to Govern
the Administration and Operation of Special Education.
    (e) No child who comes from a home in which a language
other than English is the principal language used may be
assigned to any class or program under this Article until he
has been given, in the principal language used by the child and
used in his home, tests reasonably related to his cultural
environment. All testing and evaluation materials and
procedures utilized for evaluation and placement shall not be
linguistically, racially or culturally discriminatory.
    (f) Nothing in this Article shall be construed to require
any child to undergo any physical examination or medical
treatment whose parents object thereto on the grounds that such
examination or treatment conflicts with his religious beliefs.
    (g) School boards or their designee shall provide to the
parents of a child prior written notice of any decision (a)
proposing to initiate or change, or (b) refusing to initiate or
change, the identification, evaluation, or educational
placement of the child or the provision of a free appropriate
public education to their child, and the reasons therefor. Such
written notification shall also inform the parent of the
opportunity to present complaints with respect to any matter
relating to the educational placement of the student, or the
provision of a free appropriate public education and to have an
impartial due process hearing on the complaint. The notice
shall inform the parents in the parents' native language,
unless it is clearly not feasible to do so, of their rights and
all procedures available pursuant to this Act and the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of
2004 (Public Law 108-446); it shall be the responsibility of
the State Superintendent to develop uniform notices setting
forth the procedures available under this Act and the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of
2004 (Public Law 108-446) to be used by all school boards. The
notice shall also inform the parents of the availability upon
request of a list of free or low-cost legal and other relevant
services available locally to assist parents in initiating an
impartial due process hearing. The State Superintendent shall
revise the uniform notices required by this subsection (g) to
reflect current law and procedures at least once every 2 years.
Any parent who is deaf, or does not normally communicate using
spoken English, who participates in a meeting with a
representative of a local educational agency for the purposes
of developing an individualized educational program shall be
entitled to the services of an interpreter.
    (g-5) For purposes of this subsection (g-5), "qualified
professional" means an individual who holds credentials to
evaluate the child in the domain or domains for which an
evaluation is sought or an intern working under the direct
supervision of a qualified professional, including a master's
or doctoral degree candidate.
    To ensure that a parent can participate fully and
effectively with school personnel in the development of
appropriate educational and related services for his or her
child, the parent, an independent educational evaluator, or a
qualified professional retained by or on behalf of a parent or
child must be afforded reasonable access to educational
facilities, personnel, classrooms, and buildings and to the
child as provided in this subsection (g-5). The requirements of
this subsection (g-5) apply to any public school facility,
building, or program and to any facility, building, or program
supported in whole or in part by public funds. Prior to
visiting a school, school building, or school facility, the
parent, independent educational evaluator, or qualified
professional may be required by the school district to inform
the building principal or supervisor in writing of the proposed
visit, the purpose of the visit, and the approximate duration
of the visit. The visitor and the school district shall arrange
the visit or visits at times that are mutually agreeable.
Visitors shall comply with school safety, security, and
visitation policies at all times. School district visitation
policies must not conflict with this subsection (g-5). Visitors
shall be required to comply with the requirements of applicable
privacy laws, including those laws protecting the
confidentiality of education records such as the federal Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Illinois School
Student Records Act. The visitor shall not disrupt the
educational process.
        (1) A parent must be afforded reasonable access of
    sufficient duration and scope for the purpose of observing
    his or her child in the child's current educational
    placement, services, or program or for the purpose of
    visiting an educational placement or program proposed for
    the child.
        (2) An independent educational evaluator or a
    qualified professional retained by or on behalf of a parent
    or child must be afforded reasonable access of sufficient
    duration and scope for the purpose of conducting an
    evaluation of the child, the child's performance, the
    child's current educational program, placement, services,
    or environment, or any educational program, placement,
    services, or environment proposed for the child, including
    interviews of educational personnel, child observations,
    assessments, tests or assessments of the child's
    educational program, services, or placement or of any
    proposed educational program, services, or placement. If
    one or more interviews of school personnel are part of the
    evaluation, the interviews must be conducted at a mutually
    agreed upon time, date, and place that do not interfere
    with the school employee's school duties. The school
    district may limit interviews to personnel having
    information relevant to the child's current educational
    services, program, or placement or to a proposed
    educational service, program, or placement.
    (h) (Blank).
    (i) (Blank).
    (j) (Blank).
    (k) (Blank).
    (l) (Blank).
    (m) (Blank).
    (n) (Blank).
    (o) (Blank).
(Source: P.A. 98-219, eff. 8-9-13; 99-30, eff. 7-10-15; 99-143,
eff. 7-27-15; 99-642, eff. 7-28-16.)
 
    (105 ILCS 5/14-8.02a)
    Sec. 14-8.02a. Impartial due process hearing; civil
action.
    (a) This Section shall apply to all impartial due process
hearings requested on or after July 1, 2005. Impartial due
process hearings requested before July 1, 2005 shall be
governed by the rules described in Public Act 89-652.
    (a-5) For purposes of this Section and Section 14-8.02b of
this Code, days shall be computed in accordance with Section
1.11 of the Statute on Statutes.
    (b) The State Board of Education shall establish an
impartial due process hearing system in accordance with this
Section and may, with the advice and approval of the Advisory
Council on Education of Children with Disabilities, promulgate
rules and regulations consistent with this Section to establish
the rules and procedures for due process hearings.
    (c) (Blank).
    (d) (Blank).
    (e) (Blank).
    (f) An impartial due process hearing shall be convened upon
the request of a parent, student if at least 18 years of age or
emancipated, or a school district. A school district shall make
a request in writing to the State Board of Education and
promptly mail a copy of the request to the parents or student
(if at least 18 years of age or emancipated) at the parent's or
student's last known address. A request made by the parent or
student shall be made in writing to the superintendent of the
school district where the student resides. The superintendent
shall forward the request to the State Board of Education
within 5 days after receipt of the request. The request shall
be filed no more than 2 years following the date the person or
school district knew or should have known of the event or
events forming the basis for the request. The request shall, at
a minimum, contain all of the following:
        (1) The name of the student, the address of the
    student's residence, and the name of the school the student
    is attending.
        (2) In the case of homeless children (as defined under
    the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42
    U.S.C. 11434a(2)), available contact information for the
    student and the name of the school the student is
    attending.
        (3) A description of the nature of the problem relating
    to the actual or proposed placement, identification,
    services, or evaluation of the student, including facts
    relating to the problem.
        (4) A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent
    known and available to the party at the time.
    (f-5) Within 3 days after receipt of the hearing request,
the State Board of Education shall appoint a due process
hearing officer using a rotating appointment system and shall
notify the hearing officer of his or her appointment.
    For a school district other than a school district located
in a municipality having a population exceeding 500,000, a
hearing officer who is a current resident of the school
district, special education cooperative, or other public
entity involved in the hearing shall recuse himself or herself.
A hearing officer who is a former employee of the school
district, special education cooperative, or other public
entity involved in the hearing shall immediately disclose the
former employment to the parties and shall recuse himself or
herself, unless the parties otherwise agree in writing. A
hearing officer having a personal or professional interest that
may conflict with his or her objectivity in the hearing shall
disclose the conflict to the parties and shall recuse himself
or herself unless the parties otherwise agree in writing. For
purposes of this subsection an assigned hearing officer shall
be considered to have a conflict of interest if, at any time
prior to the issuance of his or her written decision, he or she
knows or should know that he or she may receive remuneration
from a party to the hearing within 3 years following the
conclusion of the due process hearing.
    A party to a due process hearing shall be permitted one
substitution of hearing officer as a matter of right, in
accordance with procedures established by the rules adopted by
the State Board of Education under this Section. The State
Board of Education shall randomly select and appoint another
hearing officer within 3 days after receiving notice that the
appointed hearing officer is ineligible to serve or upon
receiving a proper request for substitution of hearing officer.
If a party withdraws its request for a due process hearing
after a hearing officer has been appointed, that hearing
officer shall retain jurisdiction over a subsequent hearing
that involves the same parties and is requested within one year
from the date of withdrawal of the previous request, unless
that hearing officer is unavailable.
    Any party may raise facts that constitute a conflict of
interest for the hearing officer at any time before or during
the hearing and may move for recusal.
    (g) Impartial due process hearings shall be conducted
pursuant to this Section and any rules and regulations
promulgated by the State Board of Education consistent with
this Section and other governing laws and regulations. The
hearing shall address only those issues properly raised in the
hearing request under subsection (f) of this Section or, if
applicable, in the amended hearing request under subsection
(g-15) of this Section. The hearing shall be closed to the
public unless the parents request that the hearing be open to
the public. The parents involved in the hearing shall have the
right to have the student who is the subject of the hearing
present. The hearing shall be held at a time and place which
are reasonably convenient to the parties involved. Upon the
request of a party, the hearing officer shall hold the hearing
at a location neutral to the parties if the hearing officer
determines that there is no cost for securing the use of the
neutral location. Once appointed, the impartial due process
hearing officer shall not communicate with the State Board of
Education or its employees concerning the hearing, except that,
where circumstances require, communications for administrative
purposes that do not deal with substantive or procedural
matters or issues on the merits are authorized, provided that
the hearing officer promptly notifies all parties of the
substance of the communication as a matter of record.
    (g-5) Unless the school district has previously provided
prior written notice to the parent or student (if at least 18
years of age or emancipated) regarding the subject matter of
the hearing request, the school district shall, within 10 days
after receiving a hearing request initiated by a parent or
student (if at least 18 years of age or emancipated), provide a
written response to the request that shall include all of the
following:
        (1) An explanation of why the school district proposed
    or refused to take the action or actions described in the
    hearing request.
        (2) A description of other options the IEP team
    considered and the reasons why those options were rejected.
        (3) A description of each evaluation procedure,
    assessment, record, report, or other evidence the school
    district used as the basis for the proposed or refused
    action or actions.
        (4) A description of the factors that are or were
    relevant to the school district's proposed or refused
    action or actions.
    (g-10) When the hearing request has been initiated by a
school district, within 10 days after receiving the request,
the parent or student (if at least 18 years of age or
emancipated) shall provide the school district with a response
that specifically addresses the issues raised in the school
district's hearing request. The parent's or student's response
shall be provided in writing, unless he or she is illiterate or
has a disability that prevents him or her from providing a
written response. The parent's or student's response may be
provided in his or her native language, if other than English.
In the event that illiteracy or another disabling condition
prevents the parent or student from providing a written
response, the school district shall assist the parent or
student in providing the written response.
    (g-15) Within 15 days after receiving notice of the hearing
request, the non-requesting party may challenge the
sufficiency of the request by submitting its challenge in
writing to the hearing officer. Within 5 days after receiving
the challenge to the sufficiency of the request, the hearing
officer shall issue a determination of the challenge in writing
to the parties. In the event that the hearing officer upholds
the challenge, the party who requested the hearing may, with
the consent of the non-requesting party or hearing officer,
file an amended request. Amendments are permissible for the
purpose of raising issues beyond those in the initial hearing
request. In addition, the party who requested the hearing may
amend the request once as a matter of right by filing the
amended request within 5 days after filing the initial request.
An amended request, other than an amended request as a matter
of right, shall be filed by the date determined by the hearing
officer, but in no event any later than 5 days prior to the
date of the hearing. If an amended request, other than an
amended request as a matter of right, raises issues that were
not part of the initial request, the applicable timeline for a
hearing, including the timeline under subsection (g-20) of this
Section, shall recommence.
    (g-20) Within 15 days after receiving a request for a
hearing from a parent or student (if at least 18 years of age
or emancipated) or, in the event that the school district
requests a hearing, within 15 days after initiating the
request, the school district shall convene a resolution meeting
with the parent and relevant members of the IEP team who have
specific knowledge of the facts contained in the request for
the purpose of resolving the problem that resulted in the
request. The resolution meeting shall include a representative
of the school district who has decision-making authority on
behalf of the school district. Unless the parent is accompanied
by an attorney at the resolution meeting, the school district
may not include an attorney representing the school district.
    The resolution meeting may not be waived unless agreed to
in writing by the school district and the parent or student (if
at least 18 years of age or emancipated) or the parent or
student (if at least 18 years of age or emancipated) and the
school district agree in writing to utilize mediation in place
of the resolution meeting. If either party fails to cooperate
in the scheduling or convening of the resolution meeting, the
hearing officer may order an extension of the timeline for
completion of the resolution meeting or, upon the motion of a
party and at least 7 days after ordering the non-cooperating
party to cooperate, order the dismissal of the hearing request
or the granting of all relief set forth in the request, as
appropriate.
    In the event that the school district and the parent or
student (if at least 18 years of age or emancipated) agree to a
resolution of the problem that resulted in the hearing request,
the terms of the resolution shall be committed to writing and
signed by the parent or student (if at least 18 years of age or
emancipated) and the representative of the school district with
decision-making authority. The agreement shall be legally
binding and shall be enforceable in any State or federal court
of competent jurisdiction. In the event that the parties
utilize the resolution meeting process, the process shall
continue until no later than the 30th day following the receipt
of the hearing request by the non-requesting party (or as
properly extended by order of the hearing officer) to resolve
the issues underlying the request, at which time the timeline
for completion of the impartial due process hearing shall
commence. The State Board of Education may, by rule, establish
additional procedures for the conduct of resolution meetings.
    (g-25) If mutually agreed to in writing, the parties to a
hearing request may request State-sponsored mediation as a
substitute for the resolution process described in subsection
(g-20) of this Section or may utilize mediation at the close of
the resolution process if all issues underlying the hearing
request have not been resolved through the resolution process.
    (g-30) If mutually agreed to in writing, the parties to a
hearing request may waive the resolution process described in
subsection (g-20) of this Section. Upon signing a written
agreement to waive the resolution process, the parties shall be
required to forward the written waiver to the hearing officer
appointed to the case within 2 business days following the
signing of the waiver by the parties. The timeline for the
impartial due process hearing shall commence on the date of the
signing of the waiver by the parties.
    (g-35) The timeline for completing the impartial due
process hearing, as set forth in subsection (h) of this
Section, shall be initiated upon the occurrence of any one of
the following events:
        (1) The unsuccessful completion of the resolution
    process as described in subsection (g-20) of this Section.
        (2) The mutual agreement of the parties to waive the
    resolution process as described in subsection (g-25) or
    (g-30) of this Section.
    (g-40) The hearing officer shall convene a prehearing
conference no later than 14 days before the scheduled date for
the due process hearing for the general purpose of aiding in
the fair, orderly, and expeditious conduct of the hearing. The
hearing officer shall provide the parties with written notice
of the prehearing conference at least 7 days in advance of the
conference. The written notice shall require the parties to
notify the hearing officer by a date certain whether they
intend to participate in the prehearing conference. The hearing
officer may conduct the prehearing conference in person or by
telephone. Each party shall at the prehearing conference (1)
disclose whether it is represented by legal counsel or intends
to retain legal counsel; (2) clarify matters it believes to be
in dispute in the case and the specific relief being sought;
(3) disclose whether there are any additional evaluations for
the student that it intends to introduce into the hearing
record that have not been previously disclosed to the other
parties; (4) disclose a list of all documents it intends to
introduce into the hearing record, including the date and a
brief description of each document; and (5) disclose the names
of all witnesses it intends to call to testify at the hearing.
The hearing officer shall specify the order of presentation to
be used at the hearing. If the prehearing conference is held by
telephone, the parties shall transmit the information required
in this paragraph in such a manner that it is available to all
parties at the time of the prehearing conference. The State
Board of Education may, by rule, establish additional
procedures for the conduct of prehearing conferences.
    (g-45) The impartial due process hearing officer shall not
initiate or participate in any ex parte communications with the
parties, except to arrange the date, time, and location of the
prehearing conference, due process hearing, or other status
conferences convened at the discretion of the hearing officer
and to receive confirmation of whether a party intends to
participate in the prehearing conference.
    (g-50) The parties shall disclose and provide to each other
any evidence which they intend to submit into the hearing
record no later than 5 days before the hearing. Any party to a
hearing has the right to prohibit the introduction of any
evidence at the hearing that has not been disclosed to that
party at least 5 days before the hearing. The party requesting
a hearing shall not be permitted at the hearing to raise issues
that were not raised in the party's initial or amended request,
unless otherwise permitted in this Section.
    (g-55) All reasonable efforts must be made by the parties
to present their respective cases at the hearing within a
cumulative period of 7 days. When scheduling hearing dates, the
hearing officer shall schedule the final day of the hearing no
more than 30 calendar days after the first day of the hearing
unless good cause is shown. This subsection (g-55) shall not be
applied in a manner that (i) denies any party to the hearing a
fair and reasonable allocation of time and opportunity to
present its case in its entirety or (ii) deprives any party to
the hearing of the safeguards accorded under the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of
2004 (Public Law 108-446), regulations promulgated under the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of
2004, or any other applicable law. The school district shall
present evidence that the special education needs of the child
have been appropriately identified and that the special
education program and related services proposed to meet the
needs of the child are adequate, appropriate, and available.
Any party to the hearing shall have the right to (1) be
represented by counsel and be accompanied and advised by
individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to
the problems of children with disabilities, at the party's own
expense; (2) present evidence and confront and cross-examine
witnesses; (3) move for the exclusion of witnesses from the
hearing until they are called to testify, provided, however,
that this provision may not be invoked to exclude the
individual designated by a party to assist that party or its
representative in the presentation of the case; (4) obtain a
written or electronic verbatim record of the proceedings within
30 days of receipt of a written request from the parents by the
school district; and (5) obtain a written decision, including
findings of fact and conclusions of law, within 10 days after
the conclusion of the hearing. If at issue, the school district
shall present evidence that it has properly identified and
evaluated the nature and severity of the student's suspected or
identified disability and that, if the student has been or
should have been determined eligible for special education and
related services, that it is providing or has offered a free
appropriate public education to the student in the least
restrictive environment, consistent with procedural safeguards
and in accordance with an individualized educational program.
At any time prior to the conclusion of the hearing, the
impartial due process hearing officer shall have the authority
to require additional information and order independent
evaluations for the student at the expense of the school
district. The State Board of Education and the school district
shall share equally the costs of providing a written or
electronic verbatim record of the proceedings. Any party may
request that the due process hearing officer issue a subpoena
to compel the testimony of witnesses or the production of
documents relevant to the resolution of the hearing. Whenever a
person refuses to comply with any subpoena issued under this
Section, the circuit court of the county in which that hearing
is pending, on application of the impartial hearing officer or
the party requesting the issuance of the subpoena, may compel
compliance through the contempt powers of the court in the same
manner as if the requirements of a subpoena issued by the court
had been disobeyed.
    (h) The impartial hearing officer shall issue a written
decision, including findings of fact and conclusions of law,
within 10 days after the conclusion of the hearing and send by
certified mail a copy of the decision to the parents or student
(if the student requests the hearing), the school district, the
director of special education, legal representatives of the
parties, and the State Board of Education. Unless the hearing
officer has granted specific extensions of time at the request
of a party, a final decision, including the clarification of a
decision requested under this subsection, shall be reached and
mailed to the parties named above not later than 45 days after
the initiation of the timeline for conducting the hearing, as
described in subsection (g-35) of this Section. The decision
shall specify the educational and related services that shall
be provided to the student in accordance with the student's
needs and the timeline for which the school district shall
submit evidence to the State Board of Education to demonstrate
compliance with the hearing officer's decision in the event
that the decision orders the school district to undertake
corrective action. The hearing officer shall retain
jurisdiction for the sole purpose of considering a request for
clarification of the final decision submitted in writing by a
party to the impartial hearing officer within 5 days after
receipt of the decision. A copy of the request for
clarification shall specify the portions of the decision for
which clarification is sought and shall be mailed to all
parties of record and to the State Board of Education. The
request shall operate to stay implementation of those portions
of the decision for which clarification is sought, pending
action on the request by the hearing officer, unless the
parties otherwise agree. The hearing officer shall issue a
clarification of the specified portion of the decision or issue
a partial or full denial of the request in writing within 10
days of receipt of the request and mail copies to all parties
to whom the decision was mailed. This subsection does not
permit a party to request, or authorize a hearing officer to
entertain, reconsideration of the decision itself. The statute
of limitations for seeking review of the decision shall be
tolled from the date the request is submitted until the date
the hearing officer acts upon the request. The hearing
officer's decision shall be binding upon the school district
and the parents unless a civil action is commenced.
    (i) Any party to an impartial due process hearing aggrieved
by the final written decision of the impartial due process
hearing officer shall have the right to commence a civil action
with respect to the issues presented in the impartial due
process hearing. That civil action shall be brought in any
court of competent jurisdiction within 120 days after a copy of
the decision of the impartial due process hearing officer is
mailed to the party as provided in subsection (h). The civil
action authorized by this subsection shall not be exclusive of
any rights or causes of action otherwise available. The
commencement of a civil action under this subsection shall
operate as a supersedeas. In any action brought under this
subsection the Court shall receive the records of the impartial
due process hearing, shall hear additional evidence at the
request of a party, and, basing its decision on the
preponderance of the evidence, shall grant such relief as the
court determines is appropriate. In any instance where a school
district willfully disregards applicable regulations or
statutes regarding a child covered by this Article, and which
disregard has been detrimental to the child, the school
district shall be liable for any reasonable attorney's fees
incurred by the parent in connection with proceedings under
this Section.
    (j) During the pendency of any administrative or judicial
proceeding conducted pursuant to this Section, including
mediation (if the school district or other public entity
voluntarily agrees to participate in mediation), unless the
school district and the parents or student (if at least 18
years of age or emancipated) otherwise agree, the student shall
remain in his or her present educational placement and continue
in his or her present eligibility status and special education
and related services, if any. If mediation fails to resolve the
dispute between the parties, or if the parties do not agree to
use mediation, the parent (or student if 18 years of age or
older or emancipated) shall have 10 days after the mediation
concludes, or after a party declines to use mediation, to file
a request for a due process hearing in order to continue to
invoke the "stay-put" provisions of this subsection (j). If
applying for initial admission to the school district, the
student shall, with the consent of the parents (if the student
is not at least 18 years of age or emancipated), be placed in
the school district program until all such proceedings have
been completed. The costs for any special education and related
services or placement incurred following 60 school days after
the initial request for evaluation shall be borne by the school
district if the services or placement is in accordance with the
final determination as to the special education and related
services or placement that must be provided to the child,
provided that during that 60 day period there have been no
delays caused by the child's parent. The requirements and
procedures of this subsection (j) shall be included in the
uniform notices developed by the State Superintendent under
subsection (g) of Section 14-8.02 of this Code.
    (k) Whenever the parents of a child of the type described
in Section 14-1.02 are not known, are unavailable, or the child
is a ward of the State, a person shall be assigned to serve as
surrogate parent for the child in matters relating to the
identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the
child and the provision of a free appropriate public education
to the child. Persons shall be assigned as surrogate parents by
the State Superintendent of Education. The State Board of
Education shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing
qualifications of those persons and their responsibilities and
the procedures to be followed in making assignments of persons
as surrogate parents. Surrogate parents shall not be employees
of the school district, an agency created by joint agreement
under Section 10-22.31, an agency involved in the education or
care of the student, or the State Board of Education. Services
of any person assigned as surrogate parent shall terminate if
the parent becomes available unless otherwise requested by the
parents. The assignment of a person as surrogate parent at no
time supersedes, terminates, or suspends the parents' legal
authority relative to the child. Any person participating in
good faith as surrogate parent on behalf of the child before
school officials or a hearing officer shall have immunity from
civil or criminal liability that otherwise might result by
reason of that participation, except in cases of willful and
wanton misconduct.
    (l) At all stages of the hearing the hearing officer shall
require that interpreters be made available by the school
district for persons who are deaf or for persons whose normally
spoken language is other than English.
    (m) If any provision of this Section or its application to
any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity of
that provision or application does not affect other provisions
or applications of the Section that can be given effect without
the invalid application or provision, and to this end the
provisions of this Section are severable, unless otherwise
provided by this Section.
(Source: P.A. 98-383, eff. 8-16-13.)
 
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 8/18/2017