Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children with disabilities have the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). FAPE requires schools to create an individualized educational program to meet the needs of the child, in the least restrictive environment, at no cost to parents.
However, sometimes the New York school district does not have the necessary resources to provide a program that properly accommodates your child. In such cases, families of children with disabilities may be entitled to private school tuition reimbursement, which would allow their children to attend a private school that is better able to suit their needs.
How can I get tuition reimbursement for my child’s private schooling?
Parents must show the Committee on Special Education (CSE) that the public schools in their district are unable to meet their child’s needs. If the CSE agrees with the parents, the CSE will defer the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) to the Central-Based Support Team (CBST) at the Department of Education. The CBST will be in charge of placing your child with a private school that is able to meet their needs.
In cases where the CSE disagrees with the parent, the parent will have to show that the chosen public-school program is not adequate to service the child at a hearing. The parent will also have to show that private school is necessary to provide their child with the program they need. Testimony from the child’s teachers as well as expert evaluations can be helpful to prove their case.
Families of children with disabilities know all too well how difficult it can be to find a school with a program that gives their child what he or she needs. If you are struggling to find a program that works for your child, you should consider consulting with a lawyer specializing in education law to review your options for tuition reimbursement.