Special Education is a Service, Not a Place
If your child is found eligible for special education services, it does not automatically mean they will be segregated from their peers in a classroom at the end of the hallway. Each school district is required to provide a continuum of placement options, from fully included, “push-in” services all the way to the other end of the spectrum, which include homebound learning and residential placement. When deciding placement options along the continuum, the IEP team must start by considering the fully included option to determine the Least Restrictive Environment where the IEP can be implemented to provide access to an appropriate education.
Considering Alternative Educational Options
Your child’s IEP is only required to be implemented and funded by the district where you live as it is written. If you decide to remove your child from public school and unilaterally place them in a private school, you may initiate due process in an attempt to recover the tuition costs and have the IEP funded at the private placement. You will need to prove that the school district’s offer of a Free and Appropriate Public Education is insufficient and that the outside placement was necessary. Only then will the district be required to fund the IEP in the alternative location. A decision in your favor is a rare occurrence, and it is strongly recommended that you enlist the advice and services of an educational attorney before moving forward with this option.
There are always options outside of a public school proposed IEP and placement offer, but there is currently no public funding available for those options in Maryland. If you would like assistance exploring what alternative choices exist, your advocate at Charting the Course Beth Ann has firsthand experience and knowledge of various private schools in the area as well as 4 years of homeschooling experience. She has homeschooled with portfolio reviews through the district as well as reviews under a homeschooling umbrella. If your child is currently in private school or homeschooling, perhaps you are looking for assistance enrolling in public school. Beth Ann can help you navigate the process of assessment for special education eligibility or accommodations for reentry to public schooling as well.
The site cannot and does not contain legal or medical advice. All information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only.