New Mission

New Mission

My idea is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues. I’d like to see different successful schools, wherever they may be, up close. I’d like to sit down with directors and administrators. I’d like to speak with government officials who keep a pulse on the education affairs of their communities. I want to learn more about education around the globe through speaking with locals, seeing the schools, and shaking hands with the people responsible for implementing the systems. If you know of any outstanding (public or private) special needs schools in other parts of the world, I’d love to hear about them. If you know any education experts from around the world, I’d love to be introduced to them. Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas. Read more about my mission.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reimbursement of Payments Made by School Districts for Pendency

Under federal law, a student with a disability is allowed to stay at his/her "last agreed upon placement" while due process proceedings are pending.  If the last agreed upon placement is a private school, the school district must pay for the costs of the child's education at that private school for as long as the private school is the last agreed upon placement.  The question that comes up is this: Let's say the final decision in the case is in favor of the school district -- i.e., it's later determined that the district fulfilled its obligation to offer a free and appropriate public education to the child.  Can the school district be reimbursed for the money that it laid out for the private school?  The answer is no.

In NYC Department of Education v. S.S., the court pointed out "Congress' policy choice that all handicapped children, regardless of whether their case is meritorious or not, are to remain in their current educational placement until the dispute with regard to their placement is ultimately resolved," and ruled that the district cannot be reimbursed.  This message was echoed in a recent federal court case in Georgia, Atlanta Independent School System v. S.F.  These cases reinforce the idea that the pendency provisions are intended as a built-in protection for children with special needs and their parents.  The only way to change this would be to persuade Congress to amend the law.  Until then, school districts cannot be reimbursed for payments made during pendency.