Path To Private Educational Placements Often Long, Costly
When Matthew Simchick’s parents pulled him out of classes at his local public school and tried to seek reimbursement for costly tutoring, their Virginia school district fought back hard. At 14, Simchick could say only a handful of words and was unable to count higher than six, but the school district insisted he did not need more one-on-one instruction, as his parents requested.
After withdrawing Simchick, criminal charges were brought against his parents, Jacqueline and Carl, for violating compulsory attendance laws. Those charges were thrown out, but that merely marked the beginning of a now seven-year-long legal battle.
The family has spent more than $700,000 in legal fees and educational costs, maxing out their credit cards, drawing on their 401(k)s and their house numerous times to continue with their legal battle and educate their son as they see fit.
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The Simchicks are not alone. Litigation surrounding who should pay for private schooling is on the rise as more students are diagnosed with disabilities and as parents, particularly near big cities, are increasingly willing to foot the bill. But taking a school district to court to obtain payment for a private educational placement, however, can be a drawn-out and costly process with no guarantees of success. That adds pressure to parents with already large responsibilities to care for the student at hand.
Today, at 21, Simchick attends public school for part of the day and is tutored individually for the remainder. He is more communicative and holds a part-time job at PetSmart. But the court battle continues over who will pay for the expense of his tutoring, as the Simchicks consider making their third appeal, reports The Washington Post. To read more click here.