The US Supreme Court ruled Monday in a case involving tuition reimbursement for special education students.
Most children receive special education services in their local public schools. But each year districts pay tuition to private programs for specific services they can’t provide.
The case before the US Supreme Court involved a teenage boy in Oregon who’d attended public school but was never diagnosed with a disability. When his parents enrolled him in a private program, he was found to have Attention Hyperactivity Disorder. The parents blamed the district for failing to diagnose the problem and sued for the cost of tuition.
The district said he should try their public special ed programs - and worried about allowing parents to place kids in private schools first - then demanding tuition reimbursement later. But in its 6-3 ruling, the US Supreme Court sided with the parents.
Gail Mangs, a consultant for Connecticut’s Bureau of Special Education, agrees with the decision. "If reimbursement was only available to students who had receive special education, then districts who had not appropriately identified children could never be called to account"
The ruling could cost school districts millions of dollars.