The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling in Avila v. Spokane School District 81 (9th Cir. 2017) 852 F.3d 936 (Avila), which held that the two-year statute of limitations for filing a due process complaint pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) begins when a parent "knew or should have known," a claim against a local educational agency (LEA) existed. In other words, if a parent has reason to believe their child is not receiving appropriate evaluations, placement, specialized academic instruction, or related services he/she has a right to receive under the IDEA, they have two years from that date of discovery to file a complaint to seek enforcement of their rights.
In recent years since the Supreme Court ruled in Forest Grove School District, 54 IDELR 237 (SEA OR 2010), there has been much controversy over the Court's ruling that previous special education eligibility is not a mandatory perquisite to reimbursement when families unilaterally place their children in a private placement. We wanted to provide certain things to consider before you place your child in a private placement and possibly risk a significant amount of money.
It is well understood that parents may be entitled to reimbursement for the private placement of their child if they can prove the public school district denied their child a Free and Appropriate Public Education ("F.A.P.E.") and that their child received educational benefit from the private placement. The June, 2009, Forest Grove School District v. T.A. decision by the Supreme Court was an important decision answering a question that has been debated for many years.