Kids Legal

Protecting the Rights and Improving the Lives of Maine's Children

Have a legal problem? Find Legal Help

Call our Helpline (Maine only): 1-866-624-7787  Out of State? Contact local legal aid

Special Education Timelines

Printer-friendly version

Child Find/Referral:

  • Child Find occurs within first 30 days of school year or of student enrollment
  • All special education referrals must be acted upon “in a timely manner”
  • General Education Intervention: within 60 school days of the  start of “general education interventions” for a student, a  team must convene to review child’s progress and meet every 30 school days thereafter.  Purpose is to determine if modifications to general education intervention is needed or if referral to special education is needed

Notice of IEP Team Meeting

  • At least 7 calendar  days advance notice to parent

Informed Consent from Parents:

  • Forms must be provided to parents within 15 school days of referral


  • 40 school days from receipt of parental consent, the evaluation must be provided to the school
  • 45 school days from receipt of parental consent for evaluation and report to be completed
  • 3 calendar days  prior to IEP Team meeting, parent must be provided with copy of evaluation to be reviewed at meeting
  • Independent educational evaluation: school to provide written response to parent within 30 calendar days of receipt of request either by:
    • Approving the parent’s request or
    • Filing for due process hearing to show that IEE is not needed
  • Reevaluation:
    • not more than once per year, unless parent and school agree otherwise
    • at least once every 3 years, unless parent and school agree reevaluation is unnecessary

Eligibility Determination:

  • 45 school days after receipt of informed consent from parent(s) for initial eligibility determination


  • IEP Team Meeting to develop IEP conducted within 30 calendar days of determination that student needs services
  • IEP to be implemented as soon as possible but no later than 30 calendar days after initial identification of child as child with a disability
  • School must provide parent with copy of IEP within 21 school days of IEP Team meeting that developed the IEP
  • IEP must be current at start of each school year
  • Must be reviewed at least annually

Out-of-District Placement:

  • IEP Team must convene 30 calendar days after placement to review IEP and make any needed changes

School unable to hire/contract for services:

  • IEP Team must be reconvened to identify alternative services within 30 calendar  days after start of school year or date of IEP development

Abbreviated School Day (may include tutoring):

  • If student receives an abbreviated school day for more than 10 school days, it is a change of placement and must be decided by IEP Team
  • IEP must have re-entry plan for child to return to full-time school day at the end of 45 calendar days
  • If child unable to return to school full-time within 45 calendar days, IEP team must meet every 20 school days to review progress toward returning to school full-time.  If child not progressing, IEP must determine what setting will allow child to progress to full-time school day
  • If abbreviated school day is based on child’s medical needs, IEP Team must meet at least every 90 calendar days until child is medically able to return to school full-time

Discipline/Change of Placement:

  • If discipline is for more than 10 consecutive school days, it is a change of placement; the parent must be notified on the day the decision to remove for more than 10 school days is made
  • If disciplinary removals are a series of short-term removals that are more than 10 cumulative school days in a school year and are a result of the substantially similar behavior by the child, it may be a change of placement.  Along with the behavior, look to length of each removal, total amount of time child is removed from school and how close in time each removal was from each other
  • Within 10 school days of decision to change placement because of discipline, IEP Team must hold “Manifestation Determination”
  • Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES) for up to 45 school days if drugs or weapons are involved or student caused “serious bodily injury” to another person
  • IAES is ordered by a hearing officer via expedited hearing for no more than 45 school days if student is dangerous.  If for more than 10 school days, manifestation determination must be held
  • If child is removed for more than 10 cumulative school days in a school year, child must still receive educational services to advance in general curriculum and to meet his/her IEP goals. 

Transition Planning for Post-Secondary School:

  • Must begin no later than 9th grade
  • Updated annually

Age of Majority Transition

  • School must notify student at least 1 year before child’s 18th birthday that the rights under IDEA transfer to the student from the parent/legal guardian upon 18th birthday

Access to Records

  • Parent may inspect and review any educational records of their child and school must comply with parent request without unnecessary delay, before any meeting regarding an IEP or hearing, and in no case more than 45 days after request is made

Unilateral Private Placement by Parent

  • If parent intends to seek tuition reimbursement from the school,
    • Parent must provide written notice to school at least 10 business days prior to removing child from public school, or
    • Parent must notify IEP Team at IEP Team meeting before removing child from school that he/she is rejecting the proposed placement, and state concerns as to why rejecting placement and the intent to enroll child in private school at public expense

Due Process Timelines


  • Must file within 2 years of disagreement
  • Within 10 days of school receiving complaint, school must send parent written response
  • Within 15 days of receiving complaint, non-complaining party must notify assigned hearing officer if believes notice is defective
  • Within 5 days of receipt of notification of belief that notice is insufficient, hearing officer must make decision regarding adequacy of notice
  • Notice may be amended by agreement or by hearing officer decision so long as amendment completed and filed at least 5 days before the hearing
  • If notice is amended, remaining due process timeliness apply from date of receipt of amended notice

Dispute Resolution Session

  • School to hold meeting with parents and relevant members of IEP team within 15 days of receiving parent’s complaint
  • If reach agreement, each side has 3 business days to void agreement
  • School has 30 days total from time of receiving hearing request to implement the changes agreed to at resolution meeting.  If school does not, hearing will be scheduled and timelines for a due process hearing kick in

Due Process Hearing

  • After the 30-day resolution session, pre-hearing conference and hearing will be held within 30 days
  • At least 5 days prior to hearing, each side discloses all evaluations to other, including recommendations (can be barred from use at hearing if not disclosed)
  • Finding of Facts and final decision must be made by hearing officer 15 days after the hearing has concluded
  • Hearing decision must be made 45 days after expiration of 30-day resolution period

Expedited Due Process Hearing (disciplinary cases only)

  • Dispute resolution:
    • Must occur within 7 calendar days of receiving parent request for hearing
    • 15 calendar days from time of receipt of request for hearing to be resolved or else hearing goes forward
  • Hearing
    • Must occur with 20 school days of date of hearing request
    • Determination of hearing officer must be made within 10 school days after the hearing

Offers and Attorney's Fees

  • Settlement offers must be received 10 days before hearing
  • Must be accepted within 10 days
  • No attorney’s fees awarded if decision of hearing officer does not give parent more than settlement offer

Appeal to Court

  • Must file in Federal District Court or Maine Superior Court within 90 days of receiving the hearing officer’s decision


  • Violation must have occurred within one year of date of filing complaint unless a longer period is reasonable because compensatory education is requested for violations occurring not more than 2 years prior to date of filing complaint
  • Investigation and decision must be made by DOE within 60 days after complaint is filed

April 2013
PTLA #131