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The GAP Attorneys Blog

Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

Posts Tagged ‘Similarity of needs’

School district’s recommended placement appropriate despite more than three year gap in student achievement levels

Monday, June 25th, 2012

S.F. and Y.D. v. New York City Department of Education, 57 IDELR 287 (S.D.N.Y. 2011): The parents of a thirteen-year-old student with a learning disability were denied private school tuition reimbursement for their unilateral placement despite the fact that the school district’s recommended placement included students with academic achievement levels ranging from a third-grade level to a seventh-grade level.  The parents had argued that the gap in academic achievement levels violated New York State law.  The Court noted that although under New York state law there is a maximum three-year range that applies to the chronological age of students, there is no maximum range for levels of academic achievement.  The Court also determined that the inclusion of one student with an emotional disturbance and one student classified as other health impaired, did not make the proposed placement inappropriate.  The requirement to place students with students of similar needs does not necessarily prohibit placing students of varying disabilities in the same classroom.

In addition, the Court concluded that the school district did not procedurally violate the IDEA by not allowing the student’s parent to visit the recommended placement.  Nor did the school district commit a procedural violation when they included a regular education teacher at the student’s IEP team meeting who had not taught regular education for nearly twenty years.

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Although student’s recommended placement included students of various ages and achievement levels, placement was appropriate since student’s were appropriately subgrouped

Friday, March 25th, 2011

W.T. v. Board of Education of the School District of New York City, 54 IDELR 192 (S.D.N.Y. 2010):  The Court reluctantly deferred to the decision of the State Review Officer (SRO) who denied the parents’ request for tuition reimbursement brought on behalf of their learning disabled child.  The parents’ primary concern was that the placement recommended by the school district included students ages eight through eleven, and academic achievement levels spanning as many as five years apart.  Despite the fact that the classroom seemingly violated the New York State regulation, which states that achievement levels in a given classroom shall not exceed thirty-six months in range, the Court affirmed the decision of the SRO that the classroom was appropriate since the student’s were appropriately supgrouped.

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Parents awarded reimbursement for unilateral placement after school district merely recycled student’s IEP from prior year

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

E.S. v. Katonah-Lewisboro School District, 55 IDELR 130 (S.D.N.Y.  2010):  The parents of a student, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type and borderline intellectual functioning, sought reimbursement for a unilateral private school placement for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years.  Although the court affirmed the portion of the decision from the Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO) and State Review Officer (SRO) that the school district offered a student a FAPE during the 2006-2007 school year, the court overturned the portion of the decision that concluded the student was offered a FAPE during the 2007-2008 school year.  The court awarded the parents reimbursement for the 2007-2008 school year.

The court reasoned that the school district failed to take into account the progress the student made toward the goals on his IEP for the 2006-2007 school year and developed an IEP for the 2007-2008 IEP that was substantially the same.  The court stated that it is not legally sufficient to merely recycle an IEP from the prior year.  The court also reasoned that the student’s 2007-2008 IEP recommended the student for placement with students with significantly different needs, and failed to include a multisensory reading program at which the student demonstrated progress during the 2006-2007 school year.

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