Interpreting the 1997 Amendment to the IDEA: Did Congress Intend to Limit the Remedy of Private School Tuition Reimbursement for Disabled Children?
Fordham Law Review, Vol. 77, 2009
45 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2009 Last revised: 21 Apr 2009
Date Written: April 1, 2009
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires school districts to fund private school placements for disabled children who cannot be educated appropriately in public school. This Note explores the conflict over whether private school tuition reimbursement should be available under the IDEA to parents who place their disabled children in private school without previously receiving special education from a public agency. The conflict hinges on whether a 1997 amendment to the IDEA foreclosed the equitable considerations previously utilized by the courts to determine whether tuition reimbursement was appropriate and limited the remedy to cases where the child previously received public special education services. This Note argues that the 1997 amendment to the IDEA did not limit the remedy of tuition reimbursement. It suggests that the U.S. Supreme Court uphold the remedy of tuition reimbursement when appropriate, whether or not the disabled child previously received public special education services, when it decides the issue later this Term.
Keywords: special education, IDEA, tuition reimbursement, private school
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