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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

9th Circuit affirms award of full reimbursement where private school provided only some of services student needed

C.B. v. Garden Grove (9th Cir. 2011): Guardian placed the child privately and sought reimbursement. The ALJ found that the district had not provided the child with a FAPE. The ALJ awarded only partial reimbursement reasoning that the private placement did not provide a program designed to address all of the child’s needs. The District Court rejected the ALJ’s conclusion and the District's argument, that reimbursement is warranted only when a private placement provides the full range of educational services that a disabled student requires. The District Court held that “because [the child] received educational benefits from all services that the Center provided, the district court awarded full reimbursement to Guardian for the cost of obtaining those services, along with transportation.” The 9th Circuit affirmed the District Court rejecting the school district’s argument that “because the Center could not meet some of C.B.'s additional needs (such as instruction in arithmetic), the placement was not "proper" within the meaning of the IDEA.” Interestingly, the 9th Circuit adopted the 2nd Circuit standard from Frank G.,
       
To qualify for reimbursement under the IDEA, parents need not show that a private placement furnishes every special service necessary to maximize their child's potential. They need only demonstrate that the placement provides educational instruction specially designed to meet the unique needs of a handicapped child, supported by such services as are necessary to permit the child to benefit from instruction.
Frank G. v. Bd. of Educ., 459 F.3d 356, 365 (2d. Cir. 2006)

The Court then applied the standard to the facts of the case and found that the fact that the private placement delivered “many, but not all, of the special education services that [the student] needed” was sufficient to satisfy the standard.