You’ve met. You’ve discussed. You and the team together decide that your child needs ESY.
But…you disagree on the placement. You meet some more, you discuss…and still you’re at a standstill as far as your child’s ESY placement.
So what do you do when you and the IEP team disagree on ESY placement?
When you disagree with the IEP team about ESY
First, the actual dates vary by state, or may not be well defined at all. I know some states tell you that you should be given a “reasonable amount of time” to decide. So yeah, there we go again with those gray areas of IEP language. But, they should have given you enough notice so that you have time to use your Due Process rights if you wish.
So yes, that is one option. When you realize that in a meeting, you are not going to make any more progress, ask for their offer on a PWN and proceed from there. I would try mediation first. Remember, ESY is needs based, so you have to demonstrate that your placement of choice meets your child’s needs, and that theirs does not. That second part is important-if what the district is offering does meet your child’s needs, you’re not likely to prevail.
I also have been in situations (with clients, not my own kid) where all it took was going to mediation and we got it. Sometimes mediation is just a box that they have to check to justify approving the program. No, no school ever told me that–but there were several situations where they just fought us tooth and nail, and then conceded within the first 30 minutes of mediation. Sometimes I think that they need to go back to school boards or whoever and say, “well, they took us to mediation!” I don’t know, maybe I’m totally wrong about it too, I’ve long ago stopped questioning the motives of others in IEP meetings.
Anyway…that is one option, mediation or Due Process.
Other options for ESY placement
But, let’s say you didn’t do well at mediation, or before you consider Due Process….
Please first compare the cost of an attorney for Due Process vs. the cost of the ESY program. You might find that it is much less to just pay for the program.
Private funding ESY placement
You don’t have money for Due Process or to pay for this ESY placement. I get it, we all live within budgets. Still, don’t throw in the towel. Read this list and see if there is something else you can do.
- Look at the website and see if they have financial assistance or scholarships.
- See if it might be covered by your insurance, can’t hurt to ask.
- See if there is some county/state grant or funding program for stuff like this. For example, our county MH/IDD office used to fund recreational programs, as did our state’s Autism Mini Grant Program. Both have since been cut, but was a great answer for many families while it lasted.
- Hold a fundraiser or even a gofundme type event to ask for help.
- Write to both local (Lions, Rotary) and national groups (that support your child’s condition) and see if they have a grant of some kind that you can apply for.
- If the ESY placement is a non-profit, ask if you can trade volunteer hours or something in lieu of tuition assistance.
- Ask family and friends if they would chip in.
- Ask local groups (scouts, etc.) if they would help you fund raise.
One summer when K was younger, I just did our own ESY. I was incredibly frustrated with our school program, but he was transitioning to kindergarten in the fall, so I really didn’t feel like fighting with them over it. So, I pulled him out of the school, looked as his areas of need, and just made sure that every day he had opportunities to practice what he was working on. Sure, less than ideal, but he made it and started kindergarten and did pretty well.
I have found special needs parents to be incredible problem solvers. Do your best and I’m sure that your child will be fine.