AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT THE EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, THE NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, AND THE GOVERNOR MOREHEAD SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND ARE GOVERNED BY BOARDS OF TRUSTEES AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE DUTIES OF THE BOARDS AND ADMISSION PROCESS FOR SCHOOLS FOR THE DEAF AND BLIND.
Amends GS 115C-106.3 to revise the definition of hearing officers, applicable to Article 9 (regarding the education of children with disabilities) to no longer include hearing review officers, thereby defining the term to mean administrative law judges only.
Repeals GS 115C-109.9, which provides for the appointment of a review officer by the State Board of Education (State Board) to review the findings and decisions of a hearing officer under GS 115C-109.6 (Impartial due process hearings) and GS 115C-109.8 (Procedural issues) upon appeal of the aggrieved party.
Revises GS 115C-109.6, which governs impartial due process hearings by administrative law judges for the review of issues relating to the identification, evaluation, or education placement of a child, or the provision of free appropriate public education of a child, or a manifestation determination upon the filing of a petition with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Deems the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) on the matters at issue final and not subject to further review unless an aggrieved party brings a civil action under new subsection (h2). Modifies the notice requirements for the ALJ's decision to require the notice to inform the parties of the right to file a civil action and the 30-day limitation period for filing the civil action under new subsection (h2). New subsection (h1) permits the State Board to enforce the final decision of the ALJ under the statute by ordering a local educational agency to (1) provide a child with appropriate education; (2) place a child in a private school that is approved to provide special education and can provide the child with an appropriate education; and/or (3) reimburse parents for the reasonable private school placements costs in accordance with the Article and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) when it is determined that the local educational agency did not offer or provide the child with appropriate education and the private school in which the parent placed the child was an approved school and provided the child an appropriate education. New subsection (h2) provides any aggrieved party the right to bring a civil action in State court within 30 days after receipt of the notice of the decision or in federal court as specified in federal law. Directs that a child must remain in the child's then-current educational placement upon the filing of a petition under the statute and during the pendency of any proceedings under Part 1D (Procedural Safeguards), or, if applying for initial admission to a public school, the child must be placed in the public school upon filing and during pendency. Permits the parties to agree to a different educational placement for the child during the pendency of any proceedings under the statute.
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