NASET News Alert

New York Loses Special Education Supreme Court Appeal

October 12, 2007

Supreme Court Splits on NY Special Ed Case, Leaving City Schools to Pay Private Tuition

On Monday, October 1, the Court heard Oral argument in New York Bd of Ed v. Tom F.

On Wednesday, October 10, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in this case. Justice Kennedy, recused himself. The justices split 4-4, leaving intact a lower court's ruling in favor of former Viacom and MTV executive Tom Freston. Lower courts had ruled in favor of Freston against New York City's board of education, saying the city must pay for educating learning-disabled students in private schools, even when they don't first give the public school system a chance.

New York City's legal department said the decision detracts from schools' abilities to work with parents for the best possible educational outcomes for children with disabilities.  Since the decision is not a precedent which would guide all U.S. public school districts, "we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will resolve this important issue in the near future," the city legal department said in a statement.

The favorable decision on behalf of the parents and child stands for families who live in the Second Circuit - Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. However, the failure of the Supreme Court to issue a definitive ruling on this issue means that the case has no precedential value beyond the 2nd Circuit. The decision is, in essence, a nullity, i.e., the case never went beyond the 2nd Circuit.

You can read the decision in Tom F. at:

To read more about this landmark decision, visit:

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