Private School Reimbursement
IDEA allows parents who are dissatisfied with their child's school placement to challenge that placement in a hearing before an impartial hearing officer. 20 U.S.C. 1415(b)(7). Under the standard set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in School Comm. of Burlington v. Department of Ed. Of Mass., 471 U.S. 359 (1985), a board of education may be required to pay for non-public education services obtained by a parent for his or her child if: (1) the services offered by the board were inadequate or inappropriate; (2) the services obtained by the parent were appropriate; and (3) equitable considerations support the parent's claim. Id. at 370, 374.
If a parent prevails under the standards set forth in the IDEA and Burlington, the school board must pay for the cost of the non-public education in order to satisfy its legal obligation to provide a free appropriate education. Florence County Sch. Dist. Four v. Carter, 510 U.S. 7, 12 (1993).
Parents need to proceed cautiously as they are required to communicate with the school about their desire to withdraw their child from public school and place him or her in a private school. Make sure you know what is required before you withdraw your student.