Settlements for the 2016-2017 School Year

          For kids, late August means morning playdates in the sprinklers, ice cream cones for afternoon snack, and later bedtimes.  For parents, this time of year signals back to school preparation.  And for those parents whose children have special education needs, that prep extends well beyond a trip to the office supply store.  Instead, many of you have been forced to find a private school placement and independent services for your children, and you spend the dog days of summer awaiting news on whether the DOE will settle your subsequent tuition reimbursement claim. 
          Here at Skyer Law, we are working diligently to help you obtain the highest tuition reimbursement amount possible for this upcoming school year.  On Monday, August 22nd, we will be filing close to 1,000 notices with the Department of Education, in accordance with the statutory deadline.  Each notice informs the DOE of a student’s placement in private school, and instructs that reimbursement for the program’s 2016-2017 tuition will be sought unless the department provides a remedy in the form of an appropriate public school placement, and Individualized Education Plan by the start of the school year.
Although our ultimate goal is to avoid costly and stressful litigation, we draft each notice as though the case will proceed to hearing.  By doing this, we are preparing the foundation for negotiating the maximum tuition reimbursement settlement amount possible for each client.  In the notice, we detail the substantive and procedural errors in the CSE process, and IEP document; identify specifically how the recommended program does not provide an educational benefit to your child; and outline why the offered school placement is inappropriate.  
          In theory, the DOE has ten business days to officially address the presented issues, though parents who have been through this process in previous school years, can attest to that not being the practice.  However; according to the mayor’s policy, the DOE has been directed to inform our firm of their decision to settle a case, or move forward with litigation, within 15 days of receipt of the notice.  The moment we receive the DOE’s written response, your case manager, or the paralegal assigned to your case, will reach out to you with next steps.  Please note: If your child has a 12-month IEP, your notice was filed in June.