Monday, October 11, 2004
The question presented in Mackey v. Board of Education for the Arlington Central School District was whether the parents of a learning disabled child are entitled to equitable relief under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, reimbursing them for private school tuition, when the denial of reimbursement results solely from the untimely issuance of a state administrative decision. The parents, disagreeing with the IEP developed by the school district, placed their child in a private school for the 2000-01 school year, while a decision was pending with respect to reimbursement at the same private school for the prior school year.
Ultimately the state review officer held that the private school had become the student's pendency placement for the 2000-01 school year based on the finding that the parents were entitled to reimbursement for that school for the prior year.
The District Court, however, held that because the decision which found that the parents were entitled to reimbursement for the 1999-2000 school year was rendered after the 2000-01 school year, the parents could not be reimbursed for the tuition for that year.
The Second Circuit disagreed, holding that penalizing the parents because the state review officer was derelict was unfair. It remanded the case to the District Court for a finding as to when the student's pendency placement at the private school took place.
The decision can be found here.