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Part 4: Getting Help and Asking for Mediation

You can call the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) Office of Special Education to talk, and many helpful resources are on their website. CDE cannot give legal advice, but can give you an overview of the system. Because of local control laws, the CDE has no real control over the school districts and cannot make them cooperate by telling them what to do.

You can request mediation from the CDE, either by itself, or as part of a due process complaint. If both parties agree, the CDE will assign a mediator (which CDE pays for) and set up a mediation. If the parties can come to an agreement (they don’t have to), an enforceable settlement agreement is drafted and signed. If you cannot come to an agreement, you can still file a due process or state level complaint.

Mediation is not expensive if you don’t hire an attorney, but the school district doesn’t have much incentive to solve the problem either. You can mediate before or after filing a due process complaint. Sometimes the school district appears to take mediation more seriously if you have an attorney or if a due process complaint is in the works.  

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