A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Appellate Division Finds Parent Liable for Tuition Payment to School District for Lack of Domicile

By on January 5, 2018 in Students with 0 Comments

On December 27, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the Commissioner of Education’s determination in T.L. o/b/o A.B. v. Union Township Board of Education that a parent and her child were not domiciled within the Union Township School District for two school years and therefore her child was not entitled to a free public education in that district. As a result, the parent was ordered to reimburse the Union Township Board of Education (“Board”) for the cost of the child’s education for that time period. The case involved parent T.L. and her child A.B. For the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 […]

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U.S. DOE Issues Q&A on Endrew F. Case

By on December 19, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District in which it revised the national standard for determining whether a special education student has received a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). On December 7, 2017, the United States Department of Education (“DOE”) issued a Questions and Answers (“Q&A”) document on this important case. In short, the Endrew F. Court held, “To meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an [individualized education program] reasonably calculated to enable a child […]

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Appellate Division Limits Attorneys’ Fees in OPRA Case

By on December 12, 2017 in Open Public Records Act with 0 Comments

On November 27, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Kennedy v. Montclair Center Corporation Business Improvement District issued an unpublished decision in which it determined that the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) does not entitle a plaintiff to attorneys’ fees after the public agency satisfied his document request. Scott Kennedy made an OPRA request to the Montclair Center Corporation Business Improvement District (“Montclair Center”). Not having received an adequate response, Kennedy filed suit against the Montclair Center alleging that it had no OPRA custodian, had no OPRA request form, and charged excessive copying costs in violation of OPRA. After […]

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Parent’s Untimely Notice Does Not Automatically Bar Tuition Reimbursement Claim

By on December 5, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. One of the most common scenarios giving rise to special education litigation is a due process petition filed by parents against their school district in order to seek tuition reimbursement for the costs of a private school, after the parents have unilaterally placed the child in the out-of-district placement.  Bringing a motion to reduce or deny tuition reimbursement, if it can be shown that the parents failed to timely provide the notice, has traditionally been one of the simplest and most effective defenses a school district can assert in defending […]

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NJSIAA Revises Transgender Policy

By on November 28, 2017 in Students with 0 Comments

On November 15, 2017, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (“NJSIAA”) announced changes to its policy affecting transgender student athletes. Under the new policy, the NJSIAA simply defines a transgender student as a student whose gender identity differs from the student’s sex assigned at birth. The new policy allows transgender students to participate in sports in accordance with either their birth sex or their gender identity, but not both. The old policy required documented proof of a change in gender identity, such as a physician’s certification. In contrast, the revised policy does not require medical consultation. A school may […]

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Appellate Division Overturns GRC in OPRA Case Involving Release of Settlement Agreement

By on November 21, 2017 in Open Public Records Act with 0 Comments

On November 15, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an unpublished decision in Scheeler v. Galloway Township regarding an Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) request seeking a settlement agreement between Galloway Township (“Galloway”) and its former manager. In short, the Appellate Division found that the document in question constituted a final settlement agreement subject to disclosure under OPRA contrary to the position of Galloway. On November 12, 2014, Galloway adopted a resolution in public session authorizing the settlement of the litigation between it and the former manager. Specifically, the resolution stated that Galloway’s agreement to settle was subject to […]

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Third Circuit Holds Parents Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees on IDEA Procedural Issue

By on November 14, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

Special education cases can be quite expensive for school districts to litigate. This is especially so when parents are prevailing parties and the fee-shifting provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) requires the school district to reimburse the parents for attorneys’ fees. Typically, parents are only entitled to attorneys’ fees if they are successful on the underlying merits of the case, not when they succeed on procedural or interlocutory issues. However, on October 11, 2017, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in H.E. v. Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School held that parents can recover attorneys’ […]

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Court Finds Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Was Required in Service Animal Case

By on October 27, 2017 in Students with 1 Comment

By: Lauren E. Tedesco, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. A District Court in New Hampshire recently ruled that the parents of an 8-year-old boy who uses a service animal could not bring forth claims under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) against a school district because the parents failed to first exhaust their administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (“IDEA”). In A.R. v. Sch. Admin. Unit #23, No. 15-CV-152-SM, 2017 WL 4621587 (D.N.H. Oct. 12, 2017), the student in question suffered from a […]

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Appellate Division Remands Case on Disclosure of Student Records Under OPRA

By on October 17, 2017 in Open Public Records Act with 0 Comments

When is a student record, such as a settlement agreement involving a special education student or a request for an independent special education evaluation, subject to disclosure in response to a request under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”)? According to the Appellate Division’s published decision dated October 16, 2017 in L.R. v. Camden City Public School District, et al., the answer is that disclosure is permitted when the requestor is one of the sixteen (16) authorized organizations, agencies, or persons identified in regulations adopted by the New Jersey Department of Education to implement the New Jersey Pupil Records Act […]

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Commissioner of Education Upholds Violations of School Ethics Act

By on October 10, 2017 in School Ethics Act with 0 Comments

On September 11, 2017, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) affirmed six decisions by the New Jersey School Ethics Commission (“SEC”) that various board of education members violated the School Ethics Act for failing to timely complete school board member training. These board members received penalties ranging from suspensions to reprimands. N.J.S.A. 18A:12-33 of the School Ethics Act requires, in relevant part, the following for members of a board of education or charter school board of trustees: (a) Each newly elected or appointed board member shall complete during the first year of the member’s first term a training program…regarding […]

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