Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Supreme Court Approves Reimbursement for Private Special Education Services

In Forest Grove School District v. T. A., decided by the Supreme Court on June 22, 2009, the issue decided was whether the 1997 Amendments to the IDEA prevented Courts from ordering school districts from having to pay for private special education services. An Administrative Due Process Hearing Officer held that the Forest Grove School District violated the IDEA by not providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and ordered the school district to reimburse T. A. for private special education services in T. A.'s junior and senior years of high school. The school district refused and filed suit in the federal district court.

The district court held in favor of the school district, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed. The Supreme Court accepted the case for review. The 6 - 3 majority (perhaps to become a 7 - 2 majority if and when the Senate confirms Judge Sonia Sotomayor) held that the 1997 Amendments did not change the law and affirmed the Ninth Circuit's decision. The following quotation from the end of the majority's opinion sets out the standard:

"When a court or hearing officer concludes that a school district failed to provide a FAPE and the private placement was suitable, it must consider all relevant factors, including the notice provided by the parents and the school district's opportunities for evaluating the child, in determining whether reimbursement for some or all of the cost of the child's private education is warranted."


History, Briefs, and Other Information
Blogged with the Flock Browser

No comments: