In Lieu of FAPE Information
Green Valley Academy is not an Approved Private School. Parents who go through due process can place their child in Green Valley Academy in lieu of FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education).
- The district pays tuition for the child’s attendance at GVA and the child graduates with a PA State Homeschool Diploma from Susquehanna Home Schooling Association.
- Tuition is paid directly to Green Valley Academy. All GVA tutors are PA State Certified and are well qualified as instructors of children with special needs.
Below is a testimony of a parent who opted out of a Free Appropriate Public Education. Please read carefully.
“what every parent ought to know about signing away FAPE”
April 17, 2016 by “Lisa”
First, for those who don’t know, FAPE stands for Free and Appropriate Public Education. That is a term that was used in a Supreme Court case that helped better define what our kids’ rights are. It’s just what it says it is–every child has a right to a free and appropriate education. It’s that word “appropriate” that we’ve been arguing over ever since….but I digress. But if your child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Education, why in the world would you sign away those rights?
Reasons to “sign away” FAPE
There are a few reasons why you would sign away your child’s right to FAPE. First, understand that you are not agreeing that your child is not going to receive an appropriate education. But you are in a circumstance where the public district no longer is involved in your child’s IEP process, therefore they do not want to be held responsible for something over which they have no control.
Settlement Agreements: A settlement agreement usually occurs as a result of Due Process. One party filed for Due Process, but you came to “settle” it outside of actually going to Due Process. Around here, it usually is a result of a parent wanting a child to be placed in a private school that is not an APS and it usually is the district agreeing to pay a sum of money, rather than as a team placement decision. (Settlement agreements around here also almost always come with a gag order, so the only info I can base this on is cases I have had or that my close friends have had.) But, the family gets their tuition money that they desire, so usually they take it. Now, you are agreeing to take this sum of money and “walk away” so to speak from the district and attend this private school. What you are agreeing to is that you are confident that your child will receive the needed education at this private school and that your public school will no longer play a role in their education. Thus, you cannot come back in X number of years and sue them for comp ed or claim that they did not receive FAPE.
Vouchers/Tuition Programs: Some states offer state-specific programs where a family can receive a check or a voucher for a child with an IEP. This check is to cover or help cover the costs of a private school tuition. Again, if the district has no say in the IEP or the child’s education, they do not want to be held responsible for FAPE.
Homeschooling: Homeschooling is much more popular now than ever before. And, sure, many kids who are homeschooled would likely qualify for an IEP, or were onvan IEP before the parent pulled them out to homeschool them. Reasons are the same as above–school has no say, school wants no responsibility.
So as you can see, it’s not as shocking as it seems. It’s why these decisions we make about our kids are so serious. Any placement decision must be weighed and viewed from all angles. But when you receive a contract like this, no need to be shocked if it’s an appropriate situation for it.
Keep in mind though, yes, you are signing away FAPE. Before you enter into a settlement agreement or accept any type of voucher program, double and triple check every detail. There will not be any recourse for you a few years down the road–no going to Due Process and asking for comp ed if your child’s needs are not met.