• Special Education Lawyers
    School Districts and Non-Public Schools School Districts and Non-Public Schools

    School Districts and Non-Public Schools

School Districts and Non-Public Schools

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provide an individualized program that meets the “unique” needs of your child. The program must fit your child, not the other way around. Therefore if your LEA does not have an appropriate program/class/school for your child it has a duty to find a non-public school that does meet his/her needs and pay for that placement, including all support services and transportation.

If you believe the LEA does not have an appropriate program you must be able to prove several things: 1) specifically what your child’s needs are and why the program offered by the LEA will not meet those needs and 2) why the non-public school will meet those needs.

Central to proving that case will be to have a very specific list of your child’s needs, including kind of class, size and make-up of the class, staff requirements, class strategies and curriculum and other issues that are unique to your child. For example a child’s disability may mean that s/he has a difficult time on a large campus or needs a very quiet, small classroom without distractions, noise, etc. Or a child may need a very specific educational environment/milieu – a small school exclusively focused on say children with autism or children with psychological challenges.

Finally once you have a clear sense of what your child needs you will need to compare that with what the LEA is offering – two lists of the kind of information mentioned in the previous paragraph. The greater the differences the stronger you cases for a non-public school placement.

  • Independent & Public Assessment of your Child Independent & Public Assessment of your Child

    Independent & Public Assessment of your Child

Independent & Public Assessment of your Child

Crucial to an effective IEP , is a thorough and professional assessment of your child. Your school district has an absolute legal duty to assess your child and must provide you with an Assessment Plan which lists all the tests to be used and in what areas, e.g., academic, cognitive, social, psychological, etc.

Much of what is decided at the IEP meeting about your child’s program will be based on the assessment and you have a legal right to have your child assessed by a private individual outside of the school district, sometimes called “independent” assessments. There are good reasons to consider this: sometimes school assessors already know what limitations there may be in the district and therefore may not be willing to be as frank about recommendations, especially if those recommendations may be costly or suggest programs or services the district does not have. A private assessor on the other hand is not an employee of the school district and therefore is more likely to be frank. You also have an easier time of being sure the assessor knows what your concerns are and even what you want the assessor’s report to focus on in terms of program details.

The law states that the school district must receive and consider the private assessment at the IEP meeting. The law also states that the district must pay for your private assessment unless the district takes you to a due process hearing and proves that its assessment is appropriate. While there is a chance you will not be reimbursed for the private assessment, it may be that the school district will do so because it is often more expensive and certainly more time-consuming to go […]