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Dispute Resolution Options



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The department offers mediation to parents and local education agencies as a voluntary process for the resolution of special education disputes. The Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System (WSEMS) is funded through a DPI discretionary grant. WSEMS offers mediation and facilitated IEP meetings at no cost to either party.

IDEA State Complaint

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Any individual or organization may file a complaint with the Department of Public Instruction if they believe a public agency has violated state or federal special education requirements. The department must investigate a complaint and issue a written decision within 60 days. DPI verifies all identified noncompliance is corrected within one year.

Due Process Hearing


Either the parent, adult student with a disability or the school district has the right to request a due process hearing. Within 15 days of receiving notice of the hearing request, the LEA must convene a meeting with the parents/adult student and relevant members of the IEP team to attempt a resolution. DPI monitors the timeline to ensure compliance with the 15-day timeline. When a due process hearing is requested, the department, by contract with the Division of Hearings and Appeals, appoints an impartial hearing officer to conduct the hearing.

Dispute Resolution Options Flier

This resource gives a brief overview of the different dispute resolution options and includes contact information for each option. Please feel free to download and refer to this resource as necessary.