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RULE §89.1185Hearing Procedures

(a) The hearing officer must afford the parties an opportunity for hearing within the timelines set forth in 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), §300.515 and §300.532, as applicable, unless the hearing officer, at the request of either party, grants an extension of time, except that the timelines for expedited hearings cannot be extended.

(b) Each hearing must be conducted at a time and place that are reasonably convenient to the parents and child involved.

(c) All persons in attendance must comport themselves with the same dignity, courtesy, and respect required by the district courts of the State of Texas. All argument must be made to the hearing officer alone.

(d) Except as modified or limited by the provisions of 34 CFR, §§300.507-300.514 or 300.532, or this division, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure will govern the proceedings at the hearing and the Texas Rules of Evidence will govern evidentiary issues.

(e) Before a document may be offered or admitted into evidence, the document must be identified as an exhibit of the party offering the document. All pages within the exhibit must be numbered, and all personally identifiable information concerning any student who is not the subject of the hearing must be redacted from the exhibit.

(f) The hearing officer may set reasonable time limits for presenting evidence at the hearing.

(g) Upon request, the hearing officer, at his or her discretion, may permit testimony to be received by telephone.

(h) Granting of a motion to exclude witnesses from the hearing room will be at the hearing officer's discretion.

(i) Hearings conducted under this division must be closed to the public, unless the parent requests that the hearing be open.

(j) The hearing must be recorded and transcribed by a court reporter, who will promptly prepare and transmit a transcript of the evidence to the hearing officer with copies to each of the parties.

(k) Filing of post-hearing briefs will be permitted only upon order of the hearing officer.

(l) The hearing officer must issue a final decision, signed and dated, no later than 45 calendar days after the expiration of the 30-day resolution period under 34 CFR, §300.510(b), and §89.1183 of this title (relating to Resolution Process) or the adjusted time periods described in 34 CFR, §300.510(c), and §89.1183 of this title after a request for a due process hearing is received by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), unless the deadline for a final decision has been extended by the hearing officer as provided in §89.1186 of this title (relating to Extensions of Time). A final decision must be in writing and must include findings of fact and conclusions of law separately stated. Findings of fact must be based exclusively on the evidence presented at the hearing. The final decision must be mailed to each party by the hearing officer on the day that the decision is issued. The hearing officer, at his or her discretion, may render his or her decision following the conclusion of the hearing, to be followed by written findings of fact and written decision.

(m) At the request of either party, the hearing officer must include, in the final decision, specific findings of fact regarding the following issues:

  (1) whether the parent or the public education agency unreasonably protracted the final resolution of the issues in controversy in the hearing; and

  (2) if the parent was represented by an attorney, whether the parent's attorney provided the public education agency the appropriate information in the request for a hearing in accordance with 34 CFR, §300.508(b).

(n) The decision issued by the hearing officer is final, except that any party aggrieved by the findings and decision made by the hearing officer, or the performance thereof by any other party, may bring a civil action with respect to the issues presented at the hearing in any state court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States, as provided in 34 CFR, §300.516.

(o) A public education agency must implement any decision of the hearing officer that is, at least in part, adverse to the public education agency within the timeframe prescribed by the hearing officer or, if there is no timeframe prescribed by the hearing officer, within ten school days after the date the decision was rendered. In accordance with 34 CFR, §300.518(d), a public education agency must implement a hearing officer's decision during the pendency of an appeal, except that the public education agency may withhold reimbursement for past expenses ordered by the hearing officer.

(p) In accordance with 34 CFR, §300.152(c)(3), a parent may file a complaint with the TEA alleging that a public education agency has failed to implement a hearing officer's decision.

Source Note: The provisions of this §89.1185 adopted to be effective March 6, 2001, 26 TexReg 1837; amended to be effective December 30, 2001, 26 TexReg 10536; amended to be effective November 16, 2003, 28 TexReg 9830; amended to be effective November 11, 2007, 32 TexReg 8129; amended to be effective November 28, 2012, 37 TexReg 9360; amended to be effective December 31, 2013, 38 TexReg 9552; amended to be effective March 1, 2017, 42 TexReg 760

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