9
   

Do I have a case? Where do I start?

 
 
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 10:21 am
I've been doing some reading and believe I have a case that would fall under the Supreme Court decision under Forest Grove School District v. T.A. and Burlington School Committee, et.al., v. Massachusettes Department of Education.


Here are the facts:

My son, Mo (who is now 9, in 3rd grade) has always stuggled in school.

I was pressed to get him evaluated for ADD/ADHD.

The evaluation found that he had NLD (non verbal learning disorder)

Working with the school we make and IEP (individual education plan) that began at the start of 2nd grade.

The IEP has continued through 3rd grade but Mo is still not making much progress.

I've hired him a tutor which is helping..... some... but Mo is still struggling.

I have identified a private school that I believe will adress Mo's learning problems.

I believe the school district should pay for the private school, or at least contribute to the cost of tuition in the amount spent per student at a public school, under IDEA (individuals with disabilities education act).

The school's web site warns not to begin the application process if you want the district to pay tuition.

I guess my first step would be to hire a lawyer. Do I look for one with a specilaty in disability law? Education law? What?

Or, is there a proceedure where an individual can petiton the discrict?

Or, do I go talk to the principal of his school?

Any idea on where I should start?
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 10:28 am
@boomerang,
No advice whatsoever.

I have often thought that the school district should forfeit the per pupil revenue and kick it over to the private school to help defray tuition. The counter argument goes that everyone, with or without children is obliged to support public education - even if they elect to send their children to private schools. As you can imagine, I support voucher systems.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 10:30 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

The school's web site warns not to begin the application process if you want the district to pay tuition.


Do you have any more background on why they say this? I think this is a critical component. Do they not want to deal with the district to recoup the costs or do they think you're fighting a losing battle and they don't want to take the time to review your application? Or... something else all together?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 10:33 am
@roger,
I know it's a really touchy subject for many people.

But I elect to send my kid to public school. If the school met his needs I'd have no complaint. I'm not sending him to a tutor trying to make him smarter than anyone else, I send him to help him catch up.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 10:34 am
@JPB,
I'm not really sure but I think it's because once you apply you lose the chance of having the district pay without having to sue them for reimbursement.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 10:39 am
I'd try to talk to the administration folks at the private school and get their take on the best way to proceed.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 10:50 am
@JPB,
I'm going to their open house this week. I thought I would ask here first so that I had a good idea of what to discuss with them when I have the chance. When we were going through the adoption the people here had so much good advice that it saved me a ton of time and money and frustration.

I like to have an idea of what I need to know before I go in -- that's whats up with all the homework and asking questions.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:07 am
Forest Grove School District v. T.A. The case of Forest Grove School District v. T.A., argued before the Supreme Court on April 28, 2009, addresses the issue of whether the parents of a student who has never received special education services from a public school district are potentially eligible for reimbursement of private school tuition for that student under the IDEA.[26] On June 22, 2009 the Supreme Court held that parents of disabled children can seek reimbursement for private education expenses regardless whether their child had previously received special-education services from a public school. By a vote of six to three, the Court held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorizes reimbursement whenever a public school fails to make a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to a disabled child.

I guess the key points are "potentially eligible for reimbursement" and if the public school failed to make free appropriate public education available.
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:09 am
@boomerang,
these kind of things vary a whole lot by location. You need to look around/ask around about people in your district that have faced a situation that is comparable to yours, and find out what worked and did not work. If you are in a populated area you might be able to find a group of like minded parents. For instance look for groups having to do with what Mo has diagnosed with, look for groups that want to improve or reform your local schools, think about the kids you know at his current school who seem like mo and then chat up the parents.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:43 am
@boomerang,
They may not want to discuss this at an open house. Those programs are generally scripted and they have a program they're trying to follow. Maybe this school is different in that regard if they have a lot of kids coming in from public schools that weren't thriving.

One thought that occurred to me is that if you apply it shows an intent on your part to send Mo there. Perhaps to get the district to pay it has to be at their initiative -- they have to be the ones to determine that their curriculum isn't successful for Mo and he should be educated there. Perhaps the private school doesn't want you to somehow undermine that decision making process.

Just guessing, though. I really have no idea.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:34 pm
@chai2,
Yes, then it was sent back to the lower court where I don't think it's been decided yet.

However, in most other cases have favored reimbursement.

I think it all hinges on the word "appropriate".

I believe it's appropriate that Mo receive a quality education, not just be shoved through.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:36 pm
@hawkeye10,
The Forest Grove district neighbors ours, so the case is fairly local.

That's a very good idea about looking for groups that deal with problems similar to Mo's. Thanks.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:40 pm
@JPB,
Yeah.... but..... if I leave it up to the district to make that decision it won't happen, of that I have no doubt. If the cirriculum was successful why did I need to hire a tutor - an idea they thought was "great".

This school only has about 60 students. From the testimonials, most parents were at their wits end (like me) regarding their kids education before they found this school.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 05:06 pm
I found a local attorney who lists her specialties as:

"Practice Areas: Special Education/IDEA, Section 504/Accommodations, Disability Discrimination/Civil Rights"

AND she offers a free initial consultation!
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 06:01 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
AND she offers a free initial consultation!
you only get one shot at the freebie....make sure you know enough to ask the right questions before you do it.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 06:28 pm
@hawkeye10,
Boy o boy, don't I know it.

I'm going to visit the school, set up a time to talk to them, set Mo up on what the call a "shadow day", probably ask some more questions, get years and years of paperwork in order, and do some more research before setting up a consultation.

I am a firm believer in good attorneys but I've learned that doing a little legwork first helps them be better attorneys for you and also saves you a bundle.
Izzie
 
  4  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 06:49 pm
@boomerang,
Paperwork in place Boomer.

Copies of IEP's and meetings and consultations with tutors, head and SENCO, sped ed teachers. Evidence that they have/have not met his special educational needs and possible admission on their part of why they are unable to meet his IEP, whether thru resources, time, teachers, specialist teachers.

Without the evidence and the back up from the consultants that this particular form of education has not met the "every child matters", or equivalent thereof in the US, then you are fighting just your feelings. You need their policies, county policies, the procedure is complex to prove - but it can be won with grit and determination. Only focus on what is best for Mo, in your opinion. Ask for advise from those who have experienced this in your area.

The school may be able to show their considered progress and have results to prove their intent and ability to educate Mo, and the special ed team may be able to point out reasons for this, or possibly admit that the targets on the IEP cannot be met in mainstream education for your particular child.

Paperwork and copies to back up your understanding and wishes of what you feel his needs to be, what you have done to ensure his needs are met from your parental responsility, and evidence of where.why the school are not meeting the IEPs and structured learning environment regarding your particular child.

Line you paperwork up in chronological order. policies, dates, requests, meetings, minutes, consultations, IEP changes, school reports etc...

Ask questions and get educated answers. If these don't meet the polices within the school and you can evidence this, then you ca go to appeal it.

Your process is different to ours, but the basics in spec ed are the same. An IEP is set with parental and school and psych/angency/consultants etc evaluation and input. If the targets are failing your child's learning abilities or his possibly difficulties in understand mainstream education and accessing the curriculum within that school setting - you have your next step of the journey to go through.

Wishing you all the luck. You are a fantastic advocate for Mo - do what you believe is the best for him with what you have available. Don't give up if this is what you would believe would benefit his education and well-being. Good Luck girl. You are a fantastic Mom - be all that you can be for your boy.

Calm. Focused. Unemotional. Paperwork. Always remind them Mo is an individual and needs to access a curriculum designed for his level of understand and one he is enable to engage with, not just educationally, but socially as well.

boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 07:36 pm
@Izzie,
I'm verklempt.

Thank you so much, Izzie, for your words of encouragement.

And your advice.

I the "real world" people are not allowed to talk about their kid's problems unless they have an obvious disability. It's nice to feel like someone understands. Thanks.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 08:11 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I the "real world" people are not allowed to talk about their kid's problems unless they have an obvious disability.

Isn't your house a nuclear hazard zone? I think people understand this will cause the occasional problem here and there.

I guess what I mean to say by that is, good luck!
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 09:12 pm
@Thomas,
Ha!

Yes. You were warned. Enter at your own risk. The hazards of my house are many.

(And thanks. Your visit was the highlight of my months and months.)
0 Replies
 
 

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