Forest Grove Special Education Update

Jason Bergeron just forwarded the following to me regarding the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' recent decision in this matter:

The Ninth Circuit's opinion of last week in the Forest Grove v. T.A. case should serve as yet another blow to the popular public notion that the Supreme Court's decision in Forest Grove Sch. Dist. v. T.A., 129 S. Ct. 2484, 174 L. Ed. 2d 168 (2009), was a wide-ranging decision which vastly expanded parents' and childrens' private placement rights under IDEA.

Back in 2009, the Supreme Court's decision was trumpeted in the media as "having far-reaching implications" and that it would have the unqualified result of making it "easier for children with disabilities to receive reimbursement private education."

In reality, the Supreme Court offered a limited holding only recognizing that IDEA does not establish a categorical bar on reimbursement for private school tuition for a student who had never been found eligible for special educations services could theoretically submit for. However, the Supreme Court also recognized that a parent of a child who was not previously eligible for special education services was still subject IDEA's advance written notice requirements for reimbursement.  Ultimately, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the district court to consider the equities of the parent's claim and all other statutory considerations provided in IDEA's notice advance written notice requirements.

On remand, the district court in Forest Grove Sch. Dist. v. T.A., 675 F. Supp. 2d 1063, 1066-1068 (D. Or. 2009), denied reimbursement, because the parents failed to provide proper advance written notice and because the placements were made to focus on such issues as a student's drug abuse and behavioral problems, all unrelated to school or education. The district court also pointedly noted the immense expense of the denied placements and the potential devastating real world implications of ordering reimbursement for such placements.

In last week's opinion, the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court's rationale, concluding that the district court had not abused its discretion in finding sufficient evidence in the record to support a factual determination that the parents enrolled the student in the private school solely because of his drug abuse and behavioral problems.

The distinction in enrollment in private school for educational reasons versus reasons unrelated to a child's disabilities/education will be a recurring theme faced by many school districts in the near future as many spurious private schools, which intermix supposed special education "services" with non-specific psychological treatment, continue to pop up around the country. The Ninth Circuit's decision now places the Forest Grove case as providing strong support on the side of school districts in avoiding payment for educationally inappropriate placements.

Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2011 by Registered CommenterSam Jackson | Comments1 Comment | References10 References

TASPA Overtime Presentation

As promised at the TASPA meeting, I have posted my FLSA Overtime power point presentation to the Blog.  It is located at the right at the Education Pods link and is entitled FLSA: Avoiding Overtime Issues.  Hope this is helpful

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 by Registered CommenterSam Jackson | Comments2 Comments

California teen on field trip to San Francisco lucky to be alive.

While I was taking a break I saw this article and immediately thought about the conversation the Superintendent of the school district had with the school board's attorney after this happened.  Seems that a 17 year old student jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge while he was on a field trip with his class.  Officials don't believe that the child was attempting suicide but that he was "urged" to jump by his fellow classmates.  The article states that the 220 foot fall kills 98 percent of people that jump.  This child made it with a few bruises and scrapes.  While I am very happy that the child seems to be doing well, I can't help but think about the liability issues for the school system if this had turned out differently.  Trust me, I have had more than my fair share of calls froms school personnel about bad things that happened on a field trip, but nothing like this.  I don't even know what advice I would give if I got this call.  However, I can tell you that my first question would be "where were the chaperones for this trip when this happened?"  I sincerely hope that the teachers and/or parents on this trip with the students were alert and paying attention to the children and just couldn't do anything to stop him from making this decision.  If they were standing around taking in the scenery themselves and were not paying attention to the children this could be a problem for them.  Let us know what you think about this and what you would do if you were there or you received this call as a school administrator. 

Posted on Friday, March 11, 2011 by Registered CommenterSam Jackson | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

Senate Votes to Change Tenure in Tennessee

The Tennessee Senate voted yesterday in a 21-12 vote to pass a bill promoted by Governor Haslam which will change the way Teacher tenure is granted.  The Tennessean article gives a good overview of the Bill and the vote on this issue.  The Bill changes the probationary period from 3 to 5 years and provides an avenue to revoke tenure based upon evaluations.   The House Education Committee will take up the house version of the Bill next.  The next few weeks should be interesting on this issue.  I will continue to keep you updated through the process.  Have a great weekend. 

Posted on Friday, March 11, 2011 by Registered CommenterSam Jackson | Comments3 Comments

Give us your thoughts on the negotiations act

In case you have been under a rock for the last few weeks, the legislature is taking up a bill that will repeal the Education Professional Negotiations Act (EPNA).  In this article, the Tennessean details some of the provisions of the law and the reaction from TEA and others to the proposed legislation.  This is a hot button topic in Tennessee education right now.  I would like to hear your thoughts on this issue and the other issues in the legislature that deal with education in Tennessee.  Look forward to your thoughts. 

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011 by Registered CommenterSam Jackson | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference
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