SECTION 1. The twelfth paragraph of section 3 of chapter 71B of the General Laws as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the third sentence the following sentence:
The school committee shall have the burden of proof in any proceeding conducted pursuant to this section.
Section 3 of chapter 71B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the twelfth paragraph the following paragraph:—
Parents, guardians or persons with custody of a student who have either requested a hearing before the bureau of special education appeals seeking resolution of any dispute, or are parties to a proceeding initiated by a school committee at such bureau shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and related costs, including reasonable expert fees and costs, as a prevailing party if they achieve a favorable result in defense of the school committee’s action or if they obtain relief on a significant claim as a result of such request, or an appeal thereof, that effects a material alteration in the parties’ legal relationship, and is not merely de minimis, whether such relief is the result of a voluntary change in the school committee’s conduct, a settlement agreement, or a decision or order issued by a hearing officer or court.
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