If you are a parent in need of help for a child with a disability, please email us at specialedlaw@mac.com, call us at 716-634-2753 or contact us through our website.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

NYS: legislative developments

http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A08398(memo); http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A08398&sh=t(text)

A bill has been introduced that includes a number of significant changes affecting the rights of parents of kids in special education. The following are highlights:

1. Section 8 would amend S 4404(1)(a) of the Education Law to create an exception to the two year statute of limitations for due process for tuition reimbursement claims for unilateral parental placements. The bill would require that a complaint seeking tuition reimbursement for the unilateral parental placement of a student in a private school be presented not more than one hundred and eighty days from the unilateral placement by the parent or person in parental relation in the private school. This section would take effect September 1, 2009.

2. elimination of the separate consent requirement for the initial provision of the summer component of a 12 month program

The following proposed changes affect privately placed kids and their parents:

1. the Education Law 3602-c deadline for written request for services would be changed to April 1 for parents of kids who have already had an IEP developed and implemented
2. mandatory mediation prior to hearing; where a due process complaint involveschild find requirements, the federal rules would apply and mediation would continue to be optional.
3. school district of location would now be able to provide a 12 month program(privately placed kids)
4. This bill would also add language to clarify, both for July and August services and services provided during the regular school year, that a student parentally placed in a nonpublic school has no entitlement under S 3602-c to the provision of a special class or integrated co-teaching services. Section 3602-c is intended to authorize the provision of special education programs and services to supplement the regular educa- tion instruction provided by the nonpublic school. Unlike related services, resource room services, consultant teacher services and supplementary aids and services, which are designed to supplement regu- lar education instruction, a special class or integrated co-teaching services necessarily involves a teacher providing a portion of the core regular educational program of the student. Such core instruction should be provided by the nonpublic school, and would be both costly and burdensome for the school district of location to provide.
5. S4402(4)(d) of the Education Law would be amended to provide thatwhere the board of education of a student’s school district of residence provides transportation up to a distance of fifty miles to and from a nonpublic school which a student identified with a disability attends for the purpose of receiving services or programs from the nonpublic school which are similar to special education programs and services recommended for the student by the district of residence, the student would not be entitled to special education programs and services from the school district of location pursuant to S 3602-c of the Education Law . As a condition of eligibility for such transportation, the parent or person in parental relation to the student would be required to consent to the provision of notice by the school district of residence to the chairperson of the committee on special education of the school district in which the nonpublic school is located. Such notice must be provided by the district of residence no later than thirty days after commencing transportation services.

Unless otherwise indicated in the statute, the changes would take effect on June 30, 2009. Some of the changes to 3602-c would take effect in 2010.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


For families that want their kids to get special education services, the revised Education Law §3602-c requires that the parent submit a written request for special education services by June 1st. This is a must do!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor

President Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Judge Souter on the Supreme Court. Not only would she be just the third female Supreme Court justice and the first Hispanic, she also appears to have a good track record on disability issues. As a sitting judge on the 2nd Circuit, she authored the 2002 Murphy v. Arlington decision(affirming the notion that SRO decision awarding reimbursement to parent establishes pendency and also excusing parent proceeding on behalf of child in federal court). She was also the author of the Bartlett v. NYS Bd. of Law Examiners case in which the court found that a learning disabled law student had been wrongfully deprived of accommodations on the bar exam. Notably, she has not been the author of any of the recent decisions, most of which are overly deferential to the State Review Officer.

She was on the panel of a number of 2nd Circuit disability related special education cases. Somoza is very important for the proposition that district’s volutary provision of services does not deprive a court or hearing officer of jurisdiction to “determine the nature of the entitlement at issue”. In State of Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities v. Hartford Bd. of Ed, the court allowed an agency access to student records to allow the agency to carry out an investigation of abuse claims. In Frank G., the court affirmed the right of a parent to seek reimbursement for a private placement when the child had not previously received special ed services. This case also has a very well reasoned prong 2 analyis. In A.R. v. NYC, the 2nd Circuit held that hearing officer decisions and consent decrees give rise to prevailing party status and thus, attorney fees are not barred by Buckhannon.