School Districts Must Pay for Private School Aides
June, 2010 – A recent New York court decision has found that school districts must pay for one-on-one classroom assistance prescribed in a child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) even if the service is delivered in a private school setting.
The case involved a student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder whose IEP determined that the he needed three hours of daily assistance from a one-on-one aide during academic classes. The school district contended that, although he attended a private school within the district, the one-on-one services should be provided in a public school environment.
Both the impartial hearing officer, who received the parents’ initial appeal of the school district decision, and the state review officer, who received a subsequent appeal from the school district, found that “in order for this child to receive a free appropriate public education, the services of an individual aide would have to be provided at his nonpublic school.”
The court agreed with their findings, further pointing out that since the aide would be performing “support teaching duties,” such services should be provided where the student attends classes. To do otherwise would be tantamount to denying the services since it would ignore the fact that the aide’s “contributions to the individual child’s education are an integral part of his regular classroom experience.”