AASA-NSBA-AESA release New Report on IDEA Litigation

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AASA-NSBA-AESA release New Report on IDEA Litigation

Today, the National School Boards Association, AASA, School Superintendents Association, and the Association of Educational Service Agencies released a report “School Leader Voices, Concerns and Challenges toProviding Meaningful IDEA-related Services During COVID-19” which sheds light on how potential and actual special education litigation can impact schools’ budgets and operations. Using data gathered by the three organizations demonstrates the need for Congress to provide flexibility to districts and educational service agencies in complying with IDEA in the upcoming school year. Specifically, the legal understanding of FAPE during a pandemic cannot be the same thing as FAPE under normal educational circumstances

 America’s special education system is woefully underfunded and as the pandemic reduces state and local revenue, there are even fewer dollars to cover the services districts must provide students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).  Special education is the most active area of litigation for school districts, with the average cost of one litigation estimated at the amount that could be used to hire one experienced teacher.

As schools prepare to reopen in the fall, there is a growing concern that school districts and educational service agencies will face unparalleled rates of litigation for their inability to meet IDEA requirements during the pandemic. It is critical that the next COVID-19 package Congress passes contains liability protection for districts and educational service agencies to protect them from incredibly high levels of special education litigation that will result from their inability to meet every requirement in IDEA.