Date Published: Dec 31, 1999
Texas A & M University, Corpus Christi. South Texas Research and Development Center
Yeager, D., Vela, R., Giese, S., & Collavo, L.

The purpose of this study was to analyze the increase in special-education complaints that may result in litigation and their cost to districts. The study included the analysis of data from a survey disseminated to all superintendents in Regions 1 and 2 in Texas, and an analysis of data from special-education hearing dockets for hearings held from January 1998 through October 1999. Responses were used to determine perceptions of district personnel with regards to special-education complaints. Descriptive data from the 1998 and 1999 Texas Educational Agency due-process hearing dockets were also used. Study conclusions include: (1) The term "free appropriate public education" is difficult to define but required by law for all students with an identified handicap; (2) a large number of complaints focus on parental disagreements with student placement and the requirement of least-restrictive environment, as well as on components of the individual education plan; (3) resolution at the district level is more cost effective than going to hearing; (4) a cooperative environment between the district and the parent increases the likelihood that a dispute will be resolved without the filing of an official complaint; and (5) the best defense for any district is to comply with federal and state procedural requirements at all times. (ERIC)