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(a) A hearing officer
(1) may not have a personal or professional interest that an independent third party could reasonably expect would conflict with the officer's objectivity in a hearing;
(2) may not, during the course of the 12 months immediately preceding appointment, have been employed by
(A) a district that is involved in the education or care of children with disabilities;
(B) a parent of a child as a representative or consultant in a due process hearing under this section or a complaint process under 4 AAC 52.500;
(3) must have participated in a training program for hearing officers developed by the department and conducted by the department or the district; and
(4) must be at least 21 years of age.
(b) A person who otherwise qualifies to conduct a hearing under (a) of this section is not considered an employee of the department or district solely because the person is paid by the district to serve as a hearing officer.
(c) A hearing officer is disqualified and shall voluntarily withdraw from a hearing in which the officer cannot conduct a fair and impartial hearing. A party may request the disqualification of a hearing officer by filing with the hearing officer an affidavit, before the taking of evidence at a hearing, which states the grounds for the party's belief that the hearing officer cannot conduct a fair and impartial hearing. The issue will be determined by the hearing officer.
(d) The department and each district shall keep a list of persons available to serve as hearing officers. This list must include a statement of the qualifications of each person listed.
(e) An application must be submitted to the department in order to participate in a training program to qualify as a hearing officer. The training will include review and analysis of federal and state statutes and regulations and court decisions pertaining to special education. To assure adequate training to implement AS 14.30.193 , each participant must be at least a high school graduate or present evidence of equivalent formal education. The department will set class size at a level appropriate to maintain a sufficient number of hearing officers.
History: Eff. 7/1/83, Register 86; am 11/26/93, Register 128; am 8/22/2001, Register 159; am 8/9/2002, Register 163
Authority: AS 14.07.060
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Last modified 7/05/2006