The Pennsylvania Office for Dispute Resolution provides the resources for parents and educational agencies to resolve disputes concerning the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education for students with disabilities or thought to have disabilities, students who are gifted or thought to be gifted and children with disabilities served by the early intervention system.
Once the ECC request has been received, a designated individual from ODR will contact the parties to notify them of the request for ECC, provide them with information about the process and ascertain if both parties are interested in participating. The ECC process is voluntary and each party has the option to reject participation. Upon receipt of both parties’ agreement to submit their dispute to ECC, the ECC consultant will contact them and initiate the conciliation conference process.
ECC is a three-step process:
Step 1: Confidential Position Paper and Exhibits
Step 2: Assessment of Case
Step 3: Settlement Negotiations
See the attached ECC Procedures document for an explanation of the three-step process.
Rosemary E. Mullaly, Esq. is the ECC Consultant. From 2007-2009 Ms. Mullaly was a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Chief Counsel where she advised the Department on special education and pupil personnel matters. From 2003-2007 and again in 2010, Ms. Mullaly served as a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Special Education Hearing Officer.
There is a fee for Evaluative Conciliation Conferences for issues pertaining solely to gifted education or aids, services and accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These fees are the responsibility of the LEA.
For individuals seeking to access the ECC process for a dispute related to the provision of a free appropriate public education to a child with a disability they should go to the ODR website (http://odr-pa.org/alternative-dispute-resolution/evaluative-conciliation...), download and complete the ECC request document. If individuals do not have access to the Internet, they should contact the Special Education ConsultLine (In Pennsylvania: 800-879-2301 (Toll-Free); Outside Pennsylvania: 717-901-2146) and request a copy of the form.
The ECC Pilot completed its inaugural year; participant feedback and dispute resolution data support ODR’s continuation of this cutting-edge program. As with other pilot programs assessment and revision are integral to the process.