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What is an impartial hearing?

An impartial hearing is a way to resolve a dispute with the school district in a manner similar to a trial. Both the parents and the school district are parties to the case, each side represented by an attorney, advocate, or representative. Witnesses are presented and evidence is introduced.

An impartial hearing officer, like a judge, listens to both parties and, at the conclusion of the proceedings, determines the outcome of the case, which is binding on both parties unless appealed. Relief may include an award for reimbursement, an order for the district to take corrective action for its failure to provide certain services, or various other remedies. An impartial hearing officer’s decision can be appealed by either party administratively and/or on the state/federal level.