Compliance and Assistance Q and As

Q&A: May a Complaint Decision be Appealed?

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Division of Compliance and Assistance has developed this document to provide technical assistance to questions raised about the available alternatives if a party to a complaint disagrees with a final decision. The purpose of this document is to provide helpful, general information to the public. It does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney. The information below should not be relied upon as a comprehensive or definitive response to your specific legal question.

Question 1: If a party to a complaint disagrees with the final decision, may the final decision be appealed?

Answer: Parties negatively affected by a final decision of the Minnesota Department of Education may appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals within 60 days of the date of the final decision. You are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney regarding an appeal.

Authority: Minn. Stat. §§ 480.06, Subd. 3 and 606.01; See In re Haymes, 444 N.W.2d 257, 259 (Minn. 1989) (citing common law right to judicial review of an agency’s final quasi-judicial decision when corresponding statute is silent).

Question 2: Can an issue that is the subject of a State complaint also be the subject of a due process complaint requesting a due process hearing?

Answer: Yes. A parent or a public agency may file a due process hearing complaint on the same issue raised in a State complaint, as long as the issue relates to a matter regarding the identification, evaluation, education placement, manifestation determination, or interim alternative education placement of a child with a disability, or the provision of Free Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”) to the child. The due process hearing is not a review of the State education agency’s determination; rather, the hearing officer makes his or her own independent determination of the underlying issues. The due process hearing determination on that issue is binding on the State education agency.

Authority: 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.507(a)(1), 300.151-300.150, 300.152(c) and 300.530-300.532 and Minn. Stat. § 125A091.