Fast Track

What is a 10-Day Notice -- and What Happens Next?

In tuition reimbursement cases, there is a requirement that parents provide notice to the school district at least ten business days before unilaterally placing their child in a private school. That notice outlines the due process and placement complaints the parents are making. We commonly refer to these statutory notices as “10-day notices.”

With the start of the 2017-18 school year just around the corner, we are now busily preparing and sending out 10-day notices for the majority of our clients. For those of you who are new to this process, you are probably wondering: Now what happens?

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a package of administrative policy changes aimed at streamlining settlements and avoiding unnecessary litigation. Since then, when a case meets certain, narrow criteria, the DOE will “fast-track” it for settlement based on the 10-day notice alone. This can happen:

·         When the family won an impartial hearing the prior year (without the DOE appealing) and is seeking a placement at the same school; or

·         When there was a settlement the prior year for the same placement and circumstances; or

·         When a student is in their last year of schooling at a previously funded school.

If a case does not meet the above criteria, this does not mean the DOE will not decide to settle, it just means your case will not be “fast-tracked.”

For cases that don’t settle right away, after the school year begins your attorney will file an Impartial Hearing Request.

DOE Considering Multi-Year Settlement Agreements

Earlier this week, the NYC DOE’s Office of General Counsel advised our office that some parents will have the option of entering into a three-year renewable settlement agreement with the NYC DOE. As many of you may recall, Mayor de Blasio’s 2014 Special Education Initiative that started the “Fast Track” settlement process also included the prospect of multi-year settlements.

But don’t get too excited yet. Thus far, the proposal from the DOE is not favorable to parents. In fact, the current proposed language significantly weakens a parent’s position in settlement. The DOE does not appear to be committing to paying out for years two and three at the time of the agreement, rather, they’re setting a cap on the amount they’ll reimburse for years two and three if the IEP remains the same and if the DOE has reason to settle the case.

In other words, the language of the proposed agreement forces parents to commit to a maximum dollar amount in reimbursement, but relieves the District of its responsibility to pay if certain conditions are not met. Additionally, because parents remain obligated to file Ten Day Notices each year, a multi-year settlement under the DOE’s current proposal requires that parents continue to be in an adversarial position with the DOE.

We will continue to communicate with the Office of General Counsel to determine whether equitable multi-year settlements are a possibility.