Why the parent did not get the tuition reimbursement.

On Tuesday the Dawg told you about the case from Kentucky where the court criticized the way the district created a BIP for the student.  The court held that the school denied FAPE by failing to conduct an FBA (Functional Behavioral Assessment) properly, thus leading the school to “blindly develop a behavior intervention plan” which failed to produce improved behavior in the student. 

However, the parent’s claim for tuition reimbursement was denied due to the inadequacy of the private school where the parents placed the student.  The court noted that 1) the headmaster of the private school did not know whether any of the students at the school had disabilities; 2) there was no IEP, special education teachers, FBA or OT, all of which the student needed; 3) the student made good grades at the school, but academic success “is not enough to establish Summit as an adequate placement”; and 4) the headmaster was not familiar with state standards for education and lacked an educational degree.  The court also pointed out that the social worker who testified that the student was happy at Summit “never observed L.M. at Summit, had not spoken to her teachers, seen no educational documentation and falsely believed there were no disabled children at Summit.”

It’s difficult for parents to get tuition reimbursement. They have to prove that the public school denied FAPE AND that the private school was a proper one.  Most of the time, they fail the first test. In this case the parent passed the first test but failed the second. 

This one is L.M. v. Henry County Board of Education, 75 IDELR 72 (E.D. Ky. 2019) decided by the federal court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on September 20, 2019.  We found it on Special Ed Connection at 75 IDELR 72.


One more week until the break, Readers.  Hang in there!