ERIC Number: EJ1063881
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 7
Criteria for Private Placement Reimbursement: Jefferson County School District R-1 v. Elizabeth E.
Katsiyannis, Antonis; Losinski, Mickey; Ennis, Robin; Lane, Jessica
Beyond Behavior, v23 n2 p27-30 Win 2014
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), children with identified disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). As it relates to FAPE, IDEA requires that each identified student receive special education and related services specifically designed to confer educational benefit that individual. Parents also have rights that allow them ''to present a complaint with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education'' (IDEA, 1 1415(b)(6)). If successful in a complaint before a hearing officer or the courts, parents may be eligible for a wide range of remedies such as reimbursement for legal fees, compensatory education, and costs associated with residential placements. If a student has been provided FAPE within a public school district and later placed within a private residential facility at the parent's discretion, the public school will not be responsible for any associated costs with privatized services under IDEA. However, if a court or hearing officer finds the public district did not provide the student with a FAPE, and the private facility did, the district will likely be liable for reimbursing parents for the cost of the private placement (IDEA, 1 1412(a)(10)(C)(i) & (ii)). Historically, there have been two standards used by the courts to determine reimbursement for a residential placement. The first standard is referred to as ''educational necessity,'' which focuses on the difference between a student's educational and medical needs. The second standard is referred to as ''primary orientation,'' and assesses whether the services provided by the facility are mostly educational in nature or if they were provided for another purpose (e.g., psychiatric treatment). Reimbursement for expenses incurred from unilateral placement of students with disabilities in private settings remains controversial and highly litigated (Yell, Katsiyannis, & Collins, 2010). Therefore, the purpose of this article is to provide an update on a recent Circuit Court case, Jefferson County School District R-1 v. Elizabeth E. (2012), which established a third standard to be used to determine the appropriateness of reimbursement for unilateral placement. First, the authors discuss the history of the case, summarize the facts, and analyze the reasoning behind the Court's decision. Second, they conclude by summarizing the implications of the case for practitioners.
Descriptors: School Districts, Court Litigation, Related Services (Special Education), Accessibility (for Disabled), Standard Setting, Standards, Grievance Procedures, Student Placement, Expenditure per Student, Legal Responsibility, Educational Vouchers, Educational Malpractice, Parent Rights, Student Rights, Student Costs, Federal Legislation, Educational Legislation, Disabilities, Equal Education, Elementary Secondary Education
Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders. Council for Exceptional Children, 1110 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201-5704. Tel: 612-276-0140; Fax: 612-276-0142; Web site: http://www.ccbd.net/publication/behavioraldisorders
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act