Let’s end the week with a Sheesh-O-Meter case!

Lawyers are a shameless lot. We sometimes cite our ethical duty to zealously represent our client’s interests to justify outrageous demands. Today I offer a new entry in the Sheesh-O-Meter file: the case in Pennsylvania where the lawyer argued that the local school district should refund the school taxes the client had paid for several years. 

What was the basis for this claim? The parents asserted that their child had not received the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) guaranteed him as per IDEA. 

As the Daily Dawg reported just yesterday, parents who have a legitimate claim for a denial of FAPE might be reimbursed for the private school tuition that they paid for. They might recover the cost of an independent evaluation. They might recover the attorney fees they paid to the lawyer who helped them. 

But reimbursement of school taxes???? C’mon—you can’t mean that! Everybody pays school taxes. You have to pay school taxes even if the school is ranked last in the county. You have to pay school taxes even if you have to keep your kids at home because the superintendent declared a “bad weather” day when the sun was shining with no snow on the ground. You have to pay school taxes even if the superintendent just got busted on Facebook for having an affair with one of the board members. You have to pay school taxes even when the football team is winless since 2015. There is no escaping school taxes.    

The court rejected the lawyer’s argument, and did so in the usual judicious, diplomatic manner. The court neglected to add: “Sheesh!”  Here at the Daily Dawg we are not so judicious or diplomatic.

And so the case of Moynihan v. West Chester Area School District, goes on the Dawg’s Sheesh-O-Meter.  It was decided by the 3rd Circuit on March 4, 2022 with an “unpublished” opinion that can be found on Special Ed Connection at 80 IDELR 180.


Got a question or comment for the Dawg?  Let me hear from you at jwalsh@wabsa.com