T.M. v. Cornwall Central School District, No. 12-4301 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, on behalf of their child with autism, claimed that the school district violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400-1482, by denying the child a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in his least restrictive environment (LRE). At issue was whether the LRE provision of the IDEA applied to extended school year (ESY) placements for children who need twelve-month educational programs. The court held that the IDEA's LRE requirement applied to ESY placements just as it does to school-year placements. Therefore, the district court erred in determining that the school district met its obligations under the IDEA by offering the child only an ESY placement in a self-contained special education classroom. The court also held that the district court erred by ordering the school district to pay the full cost of obtaining the child's pendency services through private providers even though the school district had offered to provide the same services itself at a lower cost. Although the school district was wrong to deny the child pendency services in the first place, it nevertheless was not required to pay for the child to remain with the same pendency services providers throughout this entire litigation. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings.