Dispute Resolution

Parents are encouraged to contact Families Together (800-264-6343), the Disability Rights Center of Kansas (877-776-1541) other parent advocacy groups, or the Kansas State Department of Education (800-203-9462) to seek assistance.

School personnel and parents are encouraged to seek resolution of any disagreement through mutual collaboration and communication. The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) provides many resources for families and educators to learn strategies for working together through conflict. One of these resources is the Working Together Series (external link), which includes five interactive self-directed online courses. Anyone can access these materials, and they are free of charge.

Comparison of Compliant Resolution Services Available to Parents and Schools (PDF)


Formal Complaint

Due Process


Mediation is one of three formal methods of resolving disputes in special education at the local level.  Other methods are formal complaint and due process hearing.  To begin the process of mediation, both parties must agree to mediate.  Either the parents or a school representative may suggest this option initially by asking the other party if they are willing to mediate the disputed issues.  The cost of mediation is borne by the State; there are no costs to either the parents or the local school district.  Mediation is voluntary throughout the process, and a mediator has no authority to order any particular resolution, so mediation is a safe way for both parties to offer and consider alternatives.  If an agreement is reached, it is written and committed to by the parties, themselves, rather than ordered by a hearing officer or the Kansas State Department of Education.  Forms to request mediation should be available in each school district from the building administrator or special education director. KSDE may also be contacted for these forms.

Mediation Forms-English (PDF)
Mediation Forms-English (Word)
Mediation Forms-Spanish (PDF)
Mediation Forms-Spanish (Word)
Rules of Mediation (PDF)

Formal Complaint

Any individual or organization may file a formal complaint if they believe that the school district is not complying with Federal or State laws or regulations relating to special education. The formal complaint may be mailed, emailed, or personally delivered to the Special Education Services Team at the Kansas State Department of Education. The Special Education Services Team at the Kansas State Department of Education must resolve a formal complaint within 30 calendar days from the date the complaint is received in the office, unless exceptional circumstances exist.

Formal Complaint-English (PDF)
Formal Complaint-English (Word)
Formal Complaint-Spanish (PDF)
Formal Complaint-Spanish (Word)
Formal Complaint Flowchart (PDF)
Formal Complaint Flowchart (Word)

Due Process

The due process hearing provides a forum where disagreements about the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of a free appropriate public education for students with exceptionalities may be adjudicated. Although Federal regulations refer to due process rights for educators and parents of students with disabilities, in Kansas those same rights are also afforded to students with giftedness. Every special education due process hearing and review must be provided for at no cost to the child or the parent of the child. The costs of the initial hearing must be provided for and paid by the school district except for attorney fees.

Only as a last resort should the legal method of a special education due process hearing and appeal procedure be used. Parents considering a request for a due process hearing may want to consider consulting with an attorney who practices in special education law.

Either the school district or the parents of an exceptional child may initiate a special education due process hearing to resolve differences about a child's identification, evaluation, educational placement, or provision of a free appropriate public education.

The due process complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than two years before the date the parent or public agency knew or should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the due process complaint. There are some exceptions to this timeline, including when a school has misrepresented that it has resolved the problem or the school has withheld information that it was legally required to give to the parent (34 C.F.R 200.507(a)(2); K.S.A. 72-972a(a)(1)(A)).

Due Process Forms for Parents

Due Process Form
English (PDF) (Word) / Spanish (PDF) (Word)

Expedited Due Process Form
English (PDF) (Word) / Spanish (PDF) (Word)

Due Process Forms for Districts
Due Process Form
English (PDF) (Word) / Spanish (PDF) (Word)
Due Process Resolution Session Tracking Form (PDF) (Word)

Expedited Due Process Form
English (PDF) (Word) / Spanish (PDF) (Word)
Expedited Due Process Resolution Session Tracking Form (PDF) (Word)

The findings and decisions in formal complaint reports and in the decisions of Kansas due process hearing officers and state review officers are available to the public for review in redacted form, https://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=597.

Special Education Legal Questions:

Crista Grimwood

Brian Dempsey
Assistant Director

Copyright 2024 by Kansas State Department of Education | 900 SW Jackson St. | Topeka, KS 66612 Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use  |  System Maintenance Notices  |  Open Records (PDF)

The Kansas State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. (more information...)

To accommodate people with disabilities, on request, auxiliary aides and services will be provided and reasonable modifications to policies and programs will be made. To request accommodations or for more information please contact the Office of General Counsel at gc@ksde.org or by 785-296-3201.