Audit finds state’s special ed complaint process lacking

New Hampshire Statehouse

New Hampshire Statehouse Holly Ramer/AP file

By GRACE McFADDEN

NHPR

Published: 04-01-2024 5:00 PM

A newly released audit of the Department of Education’s process for handling complaints about special education found that the process was disorganized and burdensome for the families of students receiving those services.

The review by state auditors determined that the Department of Education didn’t comply with national regulations, putting them at risk of losing federal funding. The Department of Education also did not always follow state laws.

The audit also included a small survey of parents who had been involved in the special education dispute process. The complaints from the parents were far ranging, and often included the cost of the dispute process, which could run into the thousands of dollars.

Between 2019 and 2022, there were 331 dispute resolution complaints and requests filed in the state.

The Department of Education mostly concurred with the recommended changes in the audit, which included establishing written ethics policies and more oversight from the Department in handling disputes.

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