DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Professional Standards Board
REGULATORY IMPLEMENTING ORDER
1515 Hearing Procedures and Rules
I. SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE AND INFORMATION SUBMITTED
Pursuant to 14 Del.C. Sections 1203 and 1205(b), the Delaware Department of Education ("Department"), in consultation and cooperation with the Professional Standards Board, is amending 14 DE Admin. Code 1515 Hearing Procedures and Rules. The regulation sets forth rules of practice and procedure used by the Professional Standards Board and is being amended under the provision of 29 Del.C. §10113(b)(2).
The amendments are exempt from the requirement of public notice and comment and are adopted informally in accordance with 29 Del.C. §§10113(b)(2).
II. FINDINGS OF FACT
The Department finds that the regulation sets forth rules of practice and procedure used by the Professional Standards Board. Accordingly, the Department finds that it is appropriate to amend 14 DE Admin. Code 1515 Hearing Procedures and Rules.
III. DECISION TO AMEND THE REGULATION
For the foregoing reasons, the Department concludes that it is appropriate to amend 14 DE Admin. Code 1515 Hearing Procedures and Rules. Therefore, pursuant to 14 Del.C. §§1203 and 1205(b), 14 DE Admin. Code 1515 Hearing Procedures and Rules, attached hereto as Exhibit "A," is hereby amended.
IV. TEXT AND CITATION
The text of 14 DE Admin. Code 1515 Hearing Procedures and Rules adopted hereby shall be in the form attached hereto as Exhibit "A" and said regulation shall be cited as 14 DE Admin. Code 1515 Hearing Procedures and Rules in the Administrative Code of Regulations for the Department.
V. EFFECTIVE DATE OF ORDER
The effective date of this Order shall be ten days from the date this Order is published in the Register of Regulations.
IT IS SO ORDERED the 15th day of November, 2018.
Department of Education
Susan S. Bunting, Ed.D., Secretary of Education
1515 Hearing Procedures and Rules
1.1 This regulation shall apply to license or permit denial actions under 14 Del.C. §§1205(b) and 1217 and license or permit disciplinary actions under 14 Del.C. §§1205(b) and 1218.
1.2 This regulation shall be liberally construed to secure a just, economical, and reasonably expeditious determination of the issues presented in accordance with the Standards Board's authority under 14 Del.C. Ch. 12 and with the Administrative Procedures Act under 29 Del.C. Ch. 101.
1.3 The Standards Board may waive any of the procedures and rules in this regulation upon application or upon its own initiative for good cause and to the extent consistent with the law.
The following words and terms, when used in this regulation, shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Department" means the Delaware Department of Education.
"Executive Director" means the Executive Director of the Delaware Professional Standards Board.
"Secretary" means the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education.
"Standards Board" means the Delaware Professional Standards Board established pursuant to 14 Del.C. §1201 or its designee.
3.1 A person may request a hearing by mailing or hand-delivering a written request for a hearing to the Executive Director.
3.1.1 Requests shall not be sent by electronic mail, facsimile, or other electronic means.
3.2 The request shall:
3.2.1 Be in writing;
3.2.2 Be signed by the person making the request or the person's counsel;
3.2.3 Set forth the grounds for action in reasonable detail;
3.2.4 Identify the source of the Standards Board's authority to decide the matter; and
3.2.5 Provide the person's preferred mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address.
3.3 Requests must be submitted to the Executive Director as follows:
3.3.1 For license or permit denial actions, requests must be postmarked or mailed hand-delivered within 20 calendar days from the date that the Department's notice under 14 Del.C. §1217(b) was mailed.
3.3.2 For license or permit disciplinary actions, requests must be submitted postmarked or hand-delivered within 30 calendar days from the date that the Secretary's notice under 14 Del.C. §1218(k) was mailed.
3.4 A copy of the request shall be provided to the Department, in license or permit denial actions, or to the Secretary, in license or permit disciplinary actions.
3.5 The Executive Director shall provide the request for a hearing to the Standards Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
3.6 Upon receipt of a request that meets all of the requirements set forth in subsection 3.2, the Standards Board may decide to conduct the hearing itself or designate a hearing officer from a list of hearing officers approved by the Standards Board to conduct the hearing.
3.6.1 The hearing officer designated shall have the same authority, powers, and duties as the Standards Board for the purpose of conducting the hearing.
3.7 The Standards Board may direct the person or agency taking official action to file a written response to the request for a hearing.
4.1 Scheduling a Hearing
4.1.1 Generally, hearings are scheduled for 1 full day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
126.96.36.199 If a party believes that the presentation of the party’s case cannot reasonably be accomplished in one half of the allotted time or less, then the party may mail or hand-deliver a written request for additional time to the Executive Director within 10 days of receipt of the notice of hearing. The request shall specify the reasons for the request. The party shall provide a copy of the request to the other party at the same time.
188.8.131.52 The Standards Board may grant the request upon a showing of good cause.
4.2 Notice of the Hearing
4.2.1 Notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing shall be mailed to the parties.
4.3 Requests for a Public Hearing
4.3.1 A party shall be deemed to have consented to a closed hearing unless the party notifies the Executive Director in writing that a public hearing is requested.
184.108.40.206 The request must be mailed or hand-delivered to the Executive Director within 5 business days of the receipt of the notice in subsection 4.2. A copy of the request shall be provided to the other party at the same time.
4.4 Subpoena Requests
4.4.1 Requests for subpoenas for witnesses and other sources of evidence shall be mailed or hand-delivered to the Executive Director at least 15 business days before the date of the hearing. A copy of the request shall be provided to the other party at the same time.
220.127.116.11 Requests for subpoenas for witnesses shall specify the witness' name and address.
18.104.22.168 Requests for subpoenas for other sources of evidence shall specify the person or entity to whom the subpoena is directed, the person or entity's address, and the date by which the person or entity is to respond to the request.
4.4.2 The Standards Board shall issue subpoenas in accordance with the law.
4.4.3 The party requesting a subpoena is responsible for delivering the subpoena to the person or entity to whom the subpoena is directed.
22.214.171.124 Proof of service of a subpoena shall be mailed or hand-delivered to the Standards Board.
4.5 Requests for a Stenographic Reporter
4.5.1 Any party may request the presence of a stenographic reporter at the hearing.
126.96.36.199 The request shall be mailed or hand-delivered to the Executive Director at least 10 business days prior to the date of the hearing. A copy of the request shall be provided to the other party at the same time.
4.5.2 The requesting party shall be liable for the expense of the stenographic reporter and any transcript the party requests.
4.6 Witness List
4.6.1 A written list of witnesses a party intends to call during a hearing shall be mailed or hand-delivered to the Executive Director at least 5 business days prior to a hearing. A copy of the list shall be mailed to the other party at the same time.
4.6.2 The Standards Board may refuse to receive into evidence any testimony of a witness who has not been named on the witness list.
4.7 Exchange of Documents
4.7.1 The parties shall exchange documents they intend to introduce at the hearing at least 5 business days prior to the hearing.
4.7.2 The documents shall be labeled "Petitioner" or "Department" and numbered in sequential order (1, 2, 3).
4.8 Prehearing Conferences
4.8.1 The Standards Board may hold prehearing conferences and teleconferences for the settlement or simplification of issues by consent, for the disposal of procedural requests or disputes, and to regulate and expedite the course of the hearing.
4.9 Continuances, Adjournments, and Postponements
4.9.1 The Standards Board may continue, adjourn, or postpone proceedings for good cause at the request of a party or on its or his or her own initiative.
4.9.2 Any request to continue, adjourn, or postpone a proceeding shall be submitted to the Executive Director in writing at least 3 business days before the date scheduled for the hearing. A copy of the request shall also be provided to the other party at the same time.
5.1 A verbatim record of the proceedings before the Standards Board will be made either electronically or stenographically, if a party submits a request under subsection 4.5.
5.2 The hearing will proceed with the party with the burden of proof first presenting its evidence and case. The other party may then present its case. The party with the burden of proof will then have an opportunity to present rebuttal evidence.
5.2.1 In license or permit denial actions, the applicant is the party with the burden of proof.
5.2.2 In license or permit disciplinary actions, the Department is the party with the burden of proof.
5.3 The Standards Board may permit the parties to present opening and closing statements.
5.4 The Standards Board may take testimony, hear proof, and receive exhibits into evidence at a hearing.
5.4.1 Strict rules of evidence shall not apply. Evidence having probative value commonly accepted by reasonably prudent people in the conduct of their affairs may be admitted into evidence.
5.4.2 The Standards Board may exclude plainly irrelevant, immaterial, insubstantial, cumulative, and privileged evidence and limit unduly repetitive proof, rebuttal, and cross-examination in accordance with 29 Del.C. §10125(b).
5.4.3 Objections to the admission of evidence shall be brief and shall state the grounds for the objection.
5.5 Testimony shall be under oath or affirmation.
5.5.1 The Standards Board may administer oaths to witnesses.
5.6 Any person who testifies as a witness shall also be subject to cross examination by the other party and by the Standards Board.
5.7 Witnesses may be sequestered upon a party's request.
5.8 Any document introduced into evidence at the hearing shall be marked by the Standards Board and shall be made a part of the record of the hearing.
5.8.1 The party offering the document into evidence shall provide a copy of the document to the other party, the Standards Board, and counsel for the Standards Board.
6.1 The Standards Board may direct the parties to submit post-hearing briefs.
6.1.1 Post-hearing briefs shall be filed as directed by the Standards Board.
6.2 If the Standards Board has designated a hearing officer, the hearing officer shall prepare a proposed order in accordance with 29 Del.C. §10126.
6.3 The parties shall have 20 calendar days from the date the proposed order is delivered to them to submit in writing to the Standards Board and the other party any exceptions, comments, and arguments respecting the proposed order.
6.3.1 The parties may agree to shorten or waive the comment period.
6.3.2 The parties may agree to consent to the hearing officer's proposed order.
188.8.131.52 When the parties consent to the hearing officer's recommendation, they shall send written notice to the Executive Director.
6.4 The Standards Board shall consider the entire record of the case, the hearing officer's proposed order, and any written exceptions, comments, and arguments thereto in reaching its final decision. The Standards Board's decision shall be incorporated in a final order which is signed and mailed to the parties.
7.1.1 Pursuant to 29 Del.C. §10129, no member or employee of the Standards Board assigned to participate in any way in the rendering of a case decision shall discuss or communicate, directly or indirectly, respecting any issue of fact or law with any person or party, except upon notice to and opportunity for all parties to participate.
184.108.40.206 Subsection 7.1.1 does not apply to communications required for the disposition of ex parte matters authorized by law or to communications by and among members of the Standards Board, the Standards Board's staff, and the Standards Board's counsel.
7.1.2 A copy of any document filed with or submitted to the Standards Board or the hearing officer shall be provided to the other party or the other party's counsel.
7.1.3 Address of the Standards Board and Parties' Contact Information
220.127.116.11 Hand-delivered submissions shall be delivered to the Standards Board at the Townsend Building, 401 Federal Street, 2nd Floor, Dover, Delaware 19901.
18.104.22.168 Mailed submissions shall be delivered to the Standards Board at 401 Federal Street, Suite 2, Dover, Delaware 19901.
22.214.171.124 Parties shall keep the Standards Board informed of their current mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
7.2.1 Any party to a proceeding before the Standards Board may be represented by counsel.
7.2.2 The attorney representing a party in a proceeding before the Standards Board shall notify the Executive Director of the representation in writing as soon as practical. A copy of the notice shall be provided to the other party at the same time.
7.2.3 Attorneys who are not members of the Delaware Bar may be admitted pro hac vice before the Standards Board pursuant to Rule 72 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware.