Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Local Board Loses Suit Against NY Education Department Over Placement of Jewish Special Needs Students

As reported by yesterday's Lower Hudson Journal News, the East Ramapo, New York school board's battle with  the state Education Department continues as the local school board loses a lawsuit challenging state interference in its placement of special education students.  Last year a state-appointed monitor filed report critical of the East Ramapo board whose Orthodox Jewish majority has been charged with aiding yeshivas at the expense of public schools. (See prior posting). The latest round involves intervention by the state challenging the East Ramapo board's practice of paying for special needs students from ultra-Orthodox families to go to private Yiddish-speaking schools when placements were available in public schools. (Background.) The district had argued that the cost of placing students in private schools that accommodate their cultural and language preferences is no more than placement in public schools, and fighting parental requests would have cost the district tens of thousands of dollars.  In Matter of East Ramapo School District v. King, (App. Div., June 4, 2015), a New York appellate court held that the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act does not grant the local school board a right of action to challenge the state's enforcement of federal law assuring students with disabilities a free appropriate public education.