Paru le jeudi 11 octobre 2007 sur The Boston Globe
Court splits on special-ed case
NYC schools must pay private tuition
By Pete Yost, Associated Press | October 11, 2007
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court yesterday affirmed a ruling that requires New York City schools to reimburse a wealthy businessman for private special education for his son.
The justices split 4-4 on the case, which means a lower-court ruling siding with former Viacom executive Tom Freston remains in place.
Lower courts had ruled in favor of Freston against New York City's Board of Education, saying the city must pay for educating learning-disabled students in private schools, even when they don't first give the public school system a chance.
New York City's legal department said the decision detracts from schools' abilities to work with parents for the best possible educational outcomes for children with disabilities.
Since the decision is not a precedent that would guide all US public school districts, "we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will resolve this important issue in the near future," the city legal department said in a statement.
The student's parents had insisted that public schools were unable to meet the child's needs. His learning disabilities were diagnosed after he was enrolled in private school.
The Board of Education had asked the justices to take the case after a lower court said tuition reimbursement is available to the parents under the Individuals With Disabilities Act.
Justice Anthony Kennedy did not participate in the case, and the court's two-sentence statement gave no explanation.
Lawyers for the boy's parents said the special-education program proposed by the public school system was inadequate to meet the child's needs.
The nation's main special-education law guarantees every student a free appropriate public education and requires school systems to pay for private placements when their own programs or classrooms are not suitable.
In arguments before the Supreme Court on Oct. 1, New York City's top appeals lawyer argued that when a school district says it has a good program for special-ed students, the law requires parents to enroll their children in the program before transferring to private school and seeking reimbursement.