Monday, November 11, 2013

Fayette school board takes legal action against state department of education

This from the Herald-Leader:
In what the Fayette County School board attorney calls a "rare" action, the board this week filed a federal lawsuit against the Kentucky Department of Education in a special education case.

A complaint in the lawsuit, filed Nov. 4 in U.S. District Court in Lexington, points to a state exceptional children appeals board decision that says Fayette County Schools failed to provide a disabled child with an appropriate education.

The Kentucky Department of Education is named as a party in the lawsuit, along with a child and their parents, because the department oversees implementation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

But the hearing officer and appeals board members who made the decisions at issue were not employees of the Kentucky department or a school district, said Grant Chenoweth, an attorney for the Fayette County School Board.

The lawsuit says the appeals board ruling "is erroneous as a matter of law and unsupported by substantial evidence" in determining that a student identified in court records only as "Z.B." was denied a free appropriate public education.

The complaint in the lawsuit, which asks that some records remain under seal, provides few details about the case. But it says that a due process hearing on Z.B.'s education was conducted by a Kentucky Department of Education hearing officer in February.

Chenoweth said the child's parents made a request for a hearing in 2012.

Court documents don't say what a hearing officer decided, but both sides appealed to a three-member panel that makes up the Exceptional Children Appeals Board.

In October, the state Exceptional Children Appeals Board ruled that Fayette County Schools had failed to provide Z.B. with a free appropriate public education in the 2011-2012 school year, the lawsuit complaint said.

The appeals board decided that Fayette County Schools had to compensate by providing the student with 540 minutes or nine hours of psychological services, according to the court record.

In the federal lawsuit the Fayette School board is asking a judge to set aside the appeals board ruling.
Officials with the Kentucky Department of Education did not immediately comment on Friday afternoon.
Chenoweth said he could not discuss additional details of the case. But Chenoweth said it is "relatively rare" for school districts to go to federal court over whether the Exceptional Children Appeals Board ruled correctly.


Anonymous said...

So isappointed in Fayette County Public Schools. I assume, Richard, they are fighting this because they don't want to open the door to other lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

Here is my question about the attorney involved in this case. How can his law firm defend the Department of Education in the Hurley-Richards case then turn around and sue the Department of Education in another case?

Wouldn't that be a conflict of interest within the law firm? How can Mr. Chenoweth represent Terry Holliday, which is my understanding. I believe the teacher has Mr. Brooks has her attorney as the paper stated previously.

Could you please inform me how this could even happen with this law firm? I am truly disappointed in the Fayette County School System. Who in their right mind would pay attorneys instead of making something right by a special needs child.


Anonymous said...

I work for the school district an am ashamed. Ashamed mostly for the way they treated Hurley-Richards. We are even told that teh board attorney is a female. Noner of my principals know who Chenoweth is.