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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SDNY once again reverses SRO

R.E. v. NYC: Once again the SDNY has reversed an adverse SRO decision (SRO 09-114) in a reimbursement case. R.E. v. NYC was decided yesterday. Initially, the Court noted that none of the public school personnel on the CSE knew the child. The only members of the CSE who were knowledgeable about the child were from the private school that the child had attended for many years.

The Court rejected the SRO's ex post facto rationalization and support of a CSE's recommendations through use of testimony at a hearing (“The SRO's reliance upon the teacher's testimony to remedy the deficits found by the IHO in the IEP was unwarranted....The SRO was not present at the hearing, and as such, should not have substituted his own credibility determinations for those of the IHO, who experienced the testimony of witnesses present at the hearing.

The Court found that the SRO was not due the usual deference because “nothing in the SRO's decision suggests that it is based on "educational policy," particularly given that it relies so heavily on the testimony individuals who lacked personal knowledge of J.E.”

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