Friday, December 20, 2013

Update on contempt citation against charter school

A Federal District Court ruled that an Arizona charter school (Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy) could not avoid paying $176,722 for our a student's (our client's) unilateral private placement simply by alleging that it lacked the funds needed to comply with a stay-put order. Determining the school could have paid at least a portion of the student's tuition if it had managed its resources more efficiently, the District Court granted our motion for a contempt citation. The court rejected the school's unsupported claim that it did not have money to pay the student's tuition. Not only had the charter school hired four (4) attorneys to represent it in the ongoing FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) dispute arising under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1400 et. seq.), but the charter school had informed the court just 12 weeks earlier that it would be setting aside funds on a monthly basis to pay the student's tuition. U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland questioned the school's more recent assertion that it was "unable to pay" any funds toward the student's tuition. "Based upon what is presently before the court, [the school] has an allocation of resources problem, not an absence of resources," Judge Holland wrote. Because the charter school did not offer any evidence to support its claim, the court found the school in civil contempt. It gave the school 10 days to pay the $176,722 already owed for the student's private school tuition, and reminded the school of its obligation to continue funding the student's placement under the IDEA's "stay-put" provision.

Friday, December 13, 2013

ESY data

Your child's IEP team (which includes YOU, the parent / grandparent / legal guardian) will be making a decision in the coming months about whether your child qualifies for ESY (EXTENDED SCHOOL YEAR).  The decision must be based on data.  Ask your child's teacher or case manager what data is being collected before the coming holiday break so that your child's level of regression and recoupment can be measured after school break.  Your child may also be entitled to ESY if he or she is at a critical stage or point of instruction.
The IEP team must look at retrospective data, such aspast regression and rate of recoupment (which is based on data taken before and after school holidays/breaks) and also on predictive data, based on the opinion of professionals in consultation with you, the child’s parents / grandparents / legal guardians, as well as circumstantial considerations of your child’s individual situation at home and in hisor her neighborhood and community.
Happy holidays to you and your families,Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch.