Grafton School District loses appeal, must reimburse parent for private school tuition

Annysa Johnson:

The Grafton School District must reimburse a mother who spent $78,000 a year in tuition, plus expenses, for her son to attend a private boarding school that specializes in learning disabilities, a federal judge in Milwaukee said Wednesday.

In issuing the order, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman upheld a 2019 decision by Administrative Law Judge Sally Pederson who ruled the district had failed to provide a now-18-year-old student with the free and appropriate public education required by state and federal law.

“We’re thrilled,” said Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick, a longtime civil and disability rights attorney, who represented the family. “My client is looking forward to being reimbursed.”

He said the district owes the mother at least $260,000 for tuition, travel expenses, attorney’s fees and interest. 

The mother who, like her son, is identified in the court records only by initials, said they were pleased with the decision and hope it improves services for other students with disabilities.