Due Process Transcript & Audio Recording Policy
Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its regulations, parties to a due process hearing are entitled to “[o]btain a written, or at the options of the parents, electronic, verbatim record of the hearing.” 34 C.F.R. § 300.512(a)(4). Additionally, federal law requires that parents receive the hearing record at no cost. 34 C.F.R. § 300.512(c)(3). Maine implements these provisions by contracting with a court reporting service to record and transcribe due process hearings. Recently, questions have arisen regarding when the record of the administrative hearing must be made available to the parties. After consulting with the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education, the Department is promulgating the following policy regarding transcripts and audio recordings of due process hearings:
All due process administrative hearings will be recorded by the contracted court reporting service. After the Administrative Hearing Officer notifies the Department that the record of the hearing is closed (e.g. once the Administrative Hearing Officer has taken the matter under advisement, has dismissed the complaint, or has been notified that the complaint has been withdrawn), any party to the hearing may request a transcript or, at the option of the parents, an electronic copy of the record from the Due Process Office. If a party wishes to have a portion of the record transcribed during the administrative hearing, they may contact the court reporting service with that request. Honoring such a request will be solely at the discretion of the court reporting service, and at cost agreed to by the court reporting service and the requesting party. The Department of Education is not responsible for providing, or paying for, any interim requests for portions of the hearing record, unless the request is made by the Administrative Hearing Officer.
Any party to a due process hearing may be allowed to tape the hearing proceedings, so long as the taping is done in a manner that does not disrupt the administrative hearing process. The hearing officer will determine if the taping is disruptive to the administrative hearing procedure. These recordings, and any transcriptions thereof, are not the official record of the hearing, and the Administrative Hearing Officers are permitted to give them whatever weight they deem appropriate. Any party who desires to tape the hearing process is responsible for providing the taping equipment and material at their own expense.
Responses to commonly asked questions follow:
When may a transcript be requested by a party?
After the Administrative Hearing Officer notifies the Department that the record of the hearing is closed (e.g. once the Administrative Hearing Officer has taken the matter under advisement, has dismissed the complaint, or has been notified that the complaint has been withdrawn).
Who may request that a transcript be prepared?
A party (or a party’s attorney) must request in writing that a transcript, or at the option of the parents or the parents’ attorney, an electronic record, be prepared. The request should be made to the Due Process Office at the Department of Education, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0023, fax: 624-6644. TTY (888) 577-6690
Who will prepare the transcript?
The transcript will be prepared and certified by the court reporting service. This certified document is the official version of the record.
In what format may the transcript be requested?
A written, or, at the option of the parents, an electronic verbatim record of the hearing may be provided.
What is the cost of a transcript for a party?
Pursuant to this policy, the Department will assume the cost of the preparation of the transcript for any party.
Is audio taping of a hearing permitted?
Yes, audio taping of a hearing may be done by a party. Audio taping must not disrupt the hearing proceedings. A party’s audio tape, and any transcript of that audio tape, will not be considered an official version of the proceedings, and the Administrative Hearing Officer is permitted to give them whatever weight they deem appropriate. Any party who desires to tape the hearing process is responsible for providing the taping equipment and material at their own expense.