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Monday, January 4, 2010

SRO rejects reimbursement claim based upon failure to provide related services

SRO 09-119: IHO found for district in reimbursement claim. SRO reversed on prong 1, but held for the district nevertheless, finding that the parent had failed to establish the appropriateness of the private placement. The SRO reasoned that the private placement was not appropriate because it failed to address the child’s need for related services. Notably, the parents had RSAs (related services authorizations) from the district for the provision of related services. The SRO provided no analysis as to why the parent should not be able to supplement the private program through external provision of related services. I have no doubt that the appropriateness of a district program would be assessed by the SRO taking into consideration all components–i.e. services provided by school district personnel and services for which the school has contracted. I see no reason why the appropriateness of a parental placement should be assessed by a more exacting standard.

Failure to include the parents at CSE meeting resulted in denial of FAPE

Drobnicki ex rel. Drobnicki v. Poway Unified School Dist., Slip Copy, 2009 WL 4912163, C.A.9 (Cal.),2009: District scheduled a CSE meeting. Parents did not agree to date. District made no further efforts to reschedule the meeting. Rather, the district conducted the CSE meeting, despite parent request to reschedule. The 9th Circuit held that this was a denial of FAPE. They did so without an analysis of whether the IEP substantively complied with the IDEA finding that the “failure to include the persons most knowledgeable about [the student’s] educational levels and needs-namely, ... [the student’s] parents-at the [October 10] IEP meeting ... resulted in lost education opportunity.”

Note that this case could be of significance where a district fails to include in the decision making process other individuals most knowledgeable about a child.

Compensatory education claim

Petrina W. v. City of Chicago Public School Dist. 299, Slip Copy, 2009 WL 5066651, N.D.Ill.,2009: IHO held that comp ed claim was not ripe until the student turned 22. The district court held otherwise finding that “compensatory education can be appropriately sought and granted prospectively-that is, before the student has reached the age of 21.” The Court further held that the proper question in a comp ed case is “how much compensatory education-if any-is necessary to restore [the student] to the position she would have occupied, had the School District provided her with a FAPE during the periods in which she was deprived of one.“