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6 N.J.A.R. 96

M., G. (By His Parents R.M. and T.M., NULL, NULL, NULL); Holmdel Board of Education v
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Citation: 6 N.J.A.R. 96
Decision Date: 1983
Synopsis: The parents of a multiply handicapped teenager sought to recoup from their local board of education the sums they paid for their son's education, transportation and psychotherapy during the seven years he attended a residental private school in Pennsylvania. The board contended that it had paid all its legally obligated expenses and that even if some of the expenses were its obligation, the parents' action in failing to assert their claims promptly should preclude reimburse- ment. The expenses in question related to the costs for an extended school year provided each summer, the psychotherapy services provided and the costs of transportation throughout the child's enrol- lment. The administrative law judge noied that the Education for All Handicapped Children Act and the applicable New Jersey regulations were silent on the reimbursement question. The judge determined, however, that a parent would be entitled to reimbursement ifa particu- lar expense should not have been a parental obligation. As to the transportation expenses, the judge concluded that since they each involved occurrences when there was no reasonable choice but to bring the child home all the transportation expenses should be reim- bursed. An examination of the psychotherapy expenses revealed that the 'psychotherapy' involved was in fact counseling designed to help the child perform in school, home and other environments and as such was a related service and reimbursable. The judge found that the school's summer program was an actual continuation of the school's academic year but that it had not been established that it would have been appropriate for the school district to have provided an extended school year free of charge. The judge noted that the time for an extended school year was not based upon whether regression of a State of New Jersey 97 handicapped student would exceed that of a non-handicapped student, but rather, whether the skills and behaviors provided by the educa- tional program are required by the child and whether the lack of such assistance would result in the loss of any proficiency on the part of the child. The judge determined that it would be inequitable to consider the defense of laches but that the parents could not recover for periods before the effective date of the Education for All Handicapped Chil- dren Act. Martin M. Barger, Esq., for petitioner (Reussille, Mausner, Carotenuto, Bruno and Barger, attorneys) Howard D. Cohen, Esq., for respondent (Gutkin, Miller Shapiro and Selesner, attorneys)
Rule(s) Cited: 6:28-1 6:28-1.1 et seq. 6:28-1.2 6:28-1.7 6:28-1.8 6:28-1.9