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Monday, March 9, 2009

SRO closes door tight on reimbursement claim

SRO 08-042: Parents prevailed at hearing. SRO Paul Kelly quickly disposed of the appeal by finding that the IHO improperly placed the burden of proof on the school district on the eligibility issue. “A misapplication of the burden of proof is reversible error (see M.M. v. Special Sch. Dist. No. 1, 512 F.3d 455, 459 [8th Cir. 2008]), and as such, the impartial hearing officer's decision regarding the student's eligibility for special education programs and services is annulled.”
Kelly did not stop there, however. He analyzed each of the three prongs and found for the district on each. Of particular note is the equities analysis. Kelly found that the parent never intended to place the child in the public school and that the parents had referred the child to the CSE not for special ed services, but rather to attempt to secure funding for a private school education.