What to Expect
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Hearings


General Hearing Information

How do I request a hearing?

Special Education Cases – These cases are started by sending a hearing request.  The request must have certain additional information. See OSPI’s website for instructions. 

Nonresident Student Transfer Cases  

Your request should include:

  • your name
  • your address
  • your telephone number
  • the name of the other party (for example, the name of the school district or OSPI department)
  • the address of the other party
  • the reason you are asking for a hearing

You must send your request to:

1.  The other party.

  • If you are a parent:  Send your request to the superintendent of your student's school district.
  • If you are a school district:  Send your request to the parent.

AND send a copy to:

2.  Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)
     600 University Street, Suite 1500
     Seattle, WA  98101-3126
     Fax: 206-587-5135

* An electronic filing option is not currently available as outlined in WAC 392-172A-05085.  However, OAH is temporarily accepting email filing of hearing requests through oah.ospi@oah.wa.gov.


What is a hearing?

A hearing is when you get to present your case to the judge.  The hearing will be by phone, by video conference, or in-person.  OAH will mail you a Scheduling Notice.  It will tell you how to participate.

During the hearing you will tell your side of the case.  You may have witnesses talk.  The judge will discuss any documents you or the other party provides.

If you asked for the hearing, you must participate in the hearing.  Otherwise, your case may be cancelled (dismissed).

OAH holds hearings in these areas:

Special Education Hearings

These hearings are under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Hearings may be requested by:

  • parents of students with disabilities
  • students 18 years or older with disabilities
  • school districts

Hearings issues can include:

  • identifying a disability
  • evaluating a disability
  • creating an educational program
  • providing services to a disabled student

RCW Chapter 28A.155, WAC 392-172A-05080, Special Education website


Non-resident Student Transfer Hearings

A parent may ask for a hearing if:

  • A student is not released to attend school in another district
  • A student is not accepted to attend school in another district

RCW 28A.225.225, RCW 28A.225.230, WAC 392-137, Student Transfer Appeals


Professional Certification Hearings

These hearings are about state educational certificates.  These hearings may be requested by:

  • People applying for a certificate
  • People holding a certificate

A person may ask for a hearing if:

  • Their application is denied
  • Their certificate is reprimanded, suspended, or revoked

RCW 28A.410.010, WAC 181-79A, WAC 181-85 through 181-88, Investigation Procedure


Child and Adult Care Food Programs Hearings

These programs provide free and reduced price meals at schools, child care facilities, and adult care facilities.  

A hearing may be requested if:

  • OSPI wants to take back program funds
  • An application to participate is denied
  • A facility is terminated from a program

RCW 28A.235, WAC 392-157, 7 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 2257 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 226Child Nutrition


Equal Educational Opportunity Hearings

These hearings are about discrimination in public schools.  A complaint may be made with OSPI.  If a person is not satisfied with the action OSPI takes, they may request a hearing.

RCW 28A.640, RCW 28A.642, WAC 392-190, Equity and Civil Rights


Boundary Dispute Hearings

These hearings are about changes to a school district’s boundaries.  These hearings may be requested by:

  • A school district
  • A resident in the school district

A party may request a hearing if they disagree with the regional committee’s decision.

RCW 28A.315.205(5), Guide to Changing School District Boundaries


Traffic Safety Education Hearings

These hearings are about driver education programs.  These hearings may be requested by organizations:

  • Applying to operate a driver education program
  • Operating a driver education program

An organization may ask for a hearing if:

  • Their application is denied
  • Their certification is reprimanded, suspended, or revoked

RCW 28A.220, WAC 392-153, Traffic Safety Education


Audit Resolution Hearings

OSPI audits organizations to make sure that funds are properly spent. If OSPI decides that funds were not properly spent, they will attempt to recover the funds.

An organization may ask for a hearing if it disagrees with OSPI’s decision.

WAC 392-115


School Bus Driver Authorization Hearings

These hearings are about authorization to drive a school bus.  These hearings may be requested by:

  • A person applying to be a bus driver
  • A bus driver

A person may ask for a hearing if:

  • Their application is denied
  • Their certification is suspended or revoked

RCW 28A.160.210, WAC 392-144


How long will it take?

The hearing process may take several weeks to several months.  The first thing you will receive is a Scheduling Notice in the mail.  The notice will tell you the time and date of your telephone prehearing conference.  It will have instructions how to call for the prehearing conference. 

Sample Scheduling Notice 

During the prehearing conference you will learn about other events that may take place before the hearing.  The judge will talk with everyone about when they are available.  The judge will schedule the hearing.  If your hearing is already scheduled, the judge may reschedule it.  


What if I have a disability and require an accommodation?

If you or any of your witnesses have a disability and require an accommodation to participate, contact OAH as soon as possible. You will need to tell OAH about how the disability effects the ability to participate and describe how we can help by accommodating the need so you can access our facilities and services. 

Click Accommodation Request to request an accommodation or contact OAH at 800-583-8271 or oah.ospi@oah.wa.gov


What if I need an interpreter?

If you want an interpreter for yourself or your witness, click Request Interpreter or contact OAH as soon as possible.  You may call 800-583-8271 or email oah.ospi@oah.wa.gov.  The state will pay for the interpreter.  Family members and friends cannot be your interpreter at the hearing.  

For a free oral translation of OAH documents, call (360) 407-2700 or (800) 583-8271.


Do I need a lawyer?

You have the right to a lawyer at any point in the hearing process.  The state will not pay for your lawyer.  Many people represent themselves.

For Special Education Hearings:   You may bring another person with you who is not a lawyer. That person may advise you during the hearing process.  That person must have knowledge or training about special education.

Click OSPI Resources to see free legal resources.

Click Legal Assistance List to see the legal assistance list for special education hearings.


What if I my phone number or address changes?

If your phone number or address changes, contact OAH as soon as possible at 800-583-8271 or oah.ospi@oah.wa.gov.  You should also tell the other party.


If you have any questions, please call 360-407-2700 or 800-583-8271.