(a) A parent or public education agency may initiate a hearing pursuant to Education Code sections 56500 through 56507 and 34 C.F.R Sections 300.507 through 300.512 on any of the matters described in Education Code section 56501. The hearing shall be conducted by a hearing officer knowledgeable in administrative hearings and under contract with the CDE.
(b) The hearings conducted pursuant to this section shall not be conducted according to the technical rules of evidence and those related to witnesses. Any relevant evidence shall be admitted if it is the sort of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule which might make improper the admission of such evidence over objection in civil actions. Hearsay evidence may be used for the purpose of supplementing or explaining other evidence but shall not be sufficient in itself to support a finding unless it would be admissible over objection in civil actions. All testimony shall be under oath or affirmation which the hearing officer is empowered to administer.
(c) In addition to the rights afforded both parties to the hearing pursuant to Education Code sections 56500, 56501, 56502, 56503, 56504, 56505, 56506 and 56507 and C.F.R. Section 300.512, the parties shall also have the following rights:
(1) To call witnesses, including adverse witnesses, and to cross examine witnesses for the other party.
(2) To compel the attendance of witnesses. The hearing officer shall have the right to issue Subpoenas (order to appear and give testimony) and Subpoenas Duces Tecum (order to produce document(s) or paper(s) upon a showing of reasonable necessity by a party).
(3) Absent compelling circumstances to the contrary, and upon motion to the hearing officer to have witnesses excluded from the hearing.
(d) Hearings shall be conducted in the English language; when the primary language of a party to a hearing is other than English, or other mode of communication, an interpreter shall be provided who is competent as determined by the hearing officer. Cost for an interpreter shall be borne by the CDE. Interpreters shall take an oath to interpret fully and accurately.
(e) If either the school district or the parents have an attorney present as an observer, the attorney may watch the proceedings to advise his party at a later date, but the attorney may not present oral argument, written argument or evidence, or consult any manner in or out of the room, during the process hearing.
(f) Notwithstanding Government Code section 11425.10(a)(3) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), special education due process hearings are open/closed to the public at the discretion of the parent.
(g) Notwithstanding Government Code section 11440.30 of the APA, the hearing officer may conduct all or part of a hearing by telephone, television, or other electronic means if each participant in the hearing has an opportunity to participate in and to hear the entire proceeding while it is taking place and to observe exhibits.
Education Code 56100
Education Code 56500
Education Code 56501
Education Code 56502
Education Code 56503
Education Code 56504
Education Code 56505
Education Code 56506
Education Code 56507
Government Code 11425.10
Government Code 11440.30
20 U.S.C. 1415(b)(2)(c)
34 C.F.R. 300.507
34 C.F.R. 300.508
34 C.F.R. 300.509
34 C.F.R. 300.510
34 C.F.R. 300.511
34 C.F.R. 300.512
(Amended by Register 2012, No. 39.)