Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Millionaire takes special ed plea to high court

September 30th, 2007

From the Associated Press, a story about the dispute between former Viacom CEO Tom Freston and the city of New York about whether taxpayers should have to foot the bill for addressing his son’s learning disabilities at an expensive private school. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Monday.

The issue before the Supreme Court has nothing to do with the family’s wealth, or the morality of a millionaire asking a cash-strapped school district for help with an ivy league-sized tuition bill.

Instead, New York City is arguing a technicality. It says that, under federal law, special education tuition aid is only available to children who actually enroll in public schools – not to lifelong private-schoolers who have never used the public system.

… “The danger of making parents try out the school district’s program first, even if it’s not an appropriate program, is that students who need early intervention waste critical time,” said Gary Mayerson, a lawyer who works with the group Autism Speaks.

The resolution of the case could have broad implications for school budgets and the movement toward full inclusion of children with disabilities in regular classrooms, says the Wall Street Journal. (Subscription required.)

Oh, and by the way: the New York Post points out that Freston got an $85 million severance deal last year.

One Response to “Millionaire takes special ed plea to high court”

  1. Tom Says:

    I have no problem with the city of New York paying for an education for Mr. Freston’s child. I have no problem with the city of New York paying for a hugely expensive private school for Mr. Freston’s child… IF that is the only place where Mr. Freston’s child can get an appropriate education. But somehow I doubt that there is not a cheaper provider of services. Parents have every right to demand that there child be given the appropriate services for their child. But they don’t have the right to demand that they be given the most expensive education available just because they are wealthy.

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