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Special Education/Cses stay puts due process

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Question
Hi
I saw you answers on CSe I hope you can answer
My two questions.  One is CSe related one isn't.
1) We Disagree with summer service inadequacies.
Our first CSe was cancelled rescheduled two days later
Then a day before the CSe they changed the time.   I said I couldn't do it
I didn't plan for it at my job. As it stands now I made arrangements
To automate at work and they greatly inconvenienced me
With the first cancellation. When they change the time last
Minute it's like cancelling. My wife wants me there.
So now they say 2 week wait.  The summer starts in three and a half weeks
The meetings are often too short. I don't think the wait time is fair given the
Looming summer. Anything I can do?
2) we are trying to figure if we can afford a lawyer. We have $5k but read
It's usually $10k.  Clearly we need a flat fee. I can't do by the hour. Anyway
If we file due process with or without lawyer how long do we get to prepare.
Because we can't go without preparing. Or do people file only when prepared fully
If you invoke stay put does it become last years level of summer services because summer is different than
Regular year. Wondering how stay put works in that event.

Thankyou
And

Answer
Ian,

Extended School Year (ESY) is intended to maintain a student's current levels, not make more progress. The days are shorter and the direct services (speech, OT, APE) are at reduced levels -- typically about half of what they are during the regular school year.

Concerning IEP meeting schedules. Schools are required by law to do everything they can to enable the parents to attend the meetings. Normally, they are to be scheduled 15 days in advance. I suggest you agree to a new date so long as the meeting is scheduled for 2 hours. I agree that schools often schedule meetings for 1 hour, then when they don't complete rushing though everything, they schedule a part 2. This is a huge inconvenience for the parents. But they don't seem to care often times. I think their plan is to rush so the parents can't keep up and just agree to what they say.

If you file for Due Process, you must have a strong case and an experienced advocate or attorney. Parents trying to do it themselves loose most of the time. They are up against seasoned attorneys representing the school districts. You must be able to prove your case with documents. Relying on school personnel to testify in your favor often back fires. Amnesia seems to be common when educators get on the witness stand. This is why you want all communication in writing -- emails are great.

You must carefully analyze your case before you file. This means decide the issues and look at the evidence you have to support each issue. Typically the actual hearings don't happen for at least 45 days (though Expedited Due Process cases go much faster). But filing first and then developing your case is not the way to go. I try to make my cases so strong that we are able to settle them in Mediation over 90% of the time.

The cost for doing a Due Process can range from $5,000 and up. My most complicated case that involved me and two attorneys cost $45,000 in legal fees. We won, so the school district had to reimburse these fees. But if we had lost, the parents would have had to eat them. Your state has a website where you can look up past ruling on Due Process filings. This is a great place to find a good attorney or advocate. Find a case like yours and see who represented the student. Also look at other cases involving the individual attorney.

Discuss your case with one or more attorneys to see if you really have one worth taking to Due Process.

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Tim Runner

Expertise

Questions concerning special education: IEP, assessments, Due Process, mediation, resolution conference, federal law, state law, qualifying for services, residential treatment, special day classes, resource specialists, procedures, having your child assessed, adaptive PE, speech & language, non-public school, FAPE, and tuition reimbursement.

Experience

I have been an education advocate representing students and parents for six years. My experience includes: representing my clients in IEPs, SSTs, Due Process, review assessment results for my clients, and mediations. I have represented clients with learning disabilities, autism, Downs Syndrome, cognitively challenged, emotional problems, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and physical disabilities. I have also represented clients to County Mental Health Departments and Regional Centers. My clients range from pre-school to college students in many states.

Education/Credentials
I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of California with minors in Psychology and Physics. I also studied applied statistics in psychology at the graduate level. I have taught college classes, conducted seminars, written articles for various publications, and testified as an expert witness.

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