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IDEA Complaint Decision 07-091

On December 9, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Glendale-River Hills School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year, improperly charged the parents a registration fee for their child’s education.

A child with a speech and language disability was charged a registration fee. The registration fee is collected from each student in the district to defray the cost for field trips and other regular education materials and activities. Guidelines regarding the registration fee are contained within the district board policy and apply to every student in the district. The parent alleges she is not required to pay these fees because the student is covered under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 and has an individualized education program (IEP).

A district must provide each child with special education needs a free appropriate public education (FAPE). In order to provide a child with FAPE, a district must provide special education and related services at no cost to the child's parents. However, a district may charge parents incidental fees normally charged to parents of all students when children with disabilities participate in activities that are a part of the regular education program. While the student had an IEP, the fees the district charged were not for special education. The district was permitted to charge the parents a registration fee for their child’s education.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed CST 2/4/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy