As the parent of a child with special needs, you know how vital it is for him or her to receive as well-rounded an education as possible. You may look to the schools to provide the appropriate services for your child, but discover they fall short of what you expect. Under these circumstances, you may be able to receive reimbursement for any costs you incur if you decide to pursue other options that may work better for your child.
If you believe that unilaterally moving your child into a private placement is the best thing for him or her, you may do so. However, if you do want reimbursement from the school district, you will need to make sure to follow some rules first. For instance, you will need to provide at least 10-days’ notice that you intend to remove your child from the public-school system, will place him or her in a private placement and seek reimbursement from the school district. You may also need to give the school district the chance to correct the problems and find a better plan for your child.
You may still qualify for reimbursement even if you do not follow all the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, including the following:
- Provide a placement certified by the state of California
- Follow the contents of your child’s existing individualized education program
- Decide not to place your child in the least restrictive environment
As long as the private placement provides your child with education benefit and fulfills his or her needs, you are considered in compliance. Knowing that you are making the right decision for your child and proving it to meet the qualifications for reimbursement are two different things.
While you would like to think that the school district will provide the appropriate services for your child, it does not always work out that way. In that case, you should not necessarily have to bear the financial burden alone. If you wish to pursue reimbursement for putting your child in a private placement, you may need to consult with an attorney with experience in special education law before moving forward.