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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Second Circuit Holds that School District Must Provide Full Value of Compensatory Services under IDEA, Not Lesser Value of what Parents Could Afford

From the Education Law Prof Blog

By LaJuana Davis
July 22, 2015

In Doe v. E. Lyme Board of Education, No. 14-1261-CV, 2015 WL 3916265 (2d Cir. June 26, 2015), a Connecticut school board and a student’s parents disagreed over the proper placement and special education services. The parents placed their child in private school while pursuing remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

During the administrative proceedings and subsequent litigation, the school board refused to pay for the student’s special education services, which were not available at her private school. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding that the school board’s action denied the student a free and appropriate education and affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment awarding no relief as to the FAPE claim because private school was an inappropriate placement because it did not offer special education services.

The Second Circuit held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s requirement for a school district to maintain a stay-put placement is triggered when an administrative due process proceeding is initiated, not when an impasse is reached, The circuit court also held that when a school district commits a stay-put violation, it must reimburse or provide compensatory education for the full value of services that the district was required to fund, not the (lesser) value of services that the student’s parent was able to afford.

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The winning attorney for the parents in this case was Eileen Hagerty, Esq. of Kotin, Crabtree & Strong, LLP, in Boston.

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