Who can file for Mediation?
Parties on either side of a dispute can request mediation services. Mediation is voluntary, so both parties must agree to attempt to resolve their disputes in a non-adversarial manner using a neutral mediator. A parent or special education director may contact the CDE Mediation Coordinator by phone (303-866-6889) or via fax or mail (see model forms below) and request mediation concerning IDEA disputes involving a specific student. The Mediation Coordinator will then contact the other party to determine if they are agreeable to mediation, and, if so, an impartial mediator will be assigned to assist the parties in resolving their dispute.
What issues can be addressed?
Mediation is available to resolve disagreements concerning services to a child with disabilities related to the identification or assessments of a child believed to be in need of an Individual Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP); instructional or related services; the least restrictive environment; location of program and services; triennial reviews; or other matters protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA).
How does it work?
The mediator will explain the process of Mediation and discuss the guidelines. Each party will have an opportunity to explain their point of view and to discuss ideas for resolving differences. The mediator remains neutral while assisting the parties in clarifying the issues, needs, and individual interests The mediator guides the communication and discussion rather than determining who is right or wrong.
Who decides the outcomes?
The goal of mediation is to help the parties reach their own mutually acceptable resolution of the disputed issues related to a student’s special education services. Therefore, the agreement is controlled by the parties themselves. To be enforceable, any agreements reached must be reduced to a written settlement agreement and signed by both parties during the mediation.
What does it cost?
Mediation is a free service. The Colorado Department of Education provides professional mediation at no cost to the parties. While there are no established timelines for mediation, they must be scheduled in a timely manner. Typically, mediations are completed within 30 calendar days of a mediation request.
Is there an appeal process?
Any agreement signed by both parties during a mediation is legally binding. If a party alleges that a settlement agreement has been breached, that party may seek enforcement of the agreement in state or federal court. If any dispute remains unresolved following mediation, all parties retain their right to file a State and/or Due Process Complaint.
Contact, Forms, and Further Information: