Another Victory in the Fight Against the DOE’s Implementation Delays
Federal Judge Declares DOE Review of “Remote Learning Plans” Illegal
As all parents, schools, and providers know, the disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic conditions have dramatically extended wait times for all administrative activities at the New York City Department of Education (DOE). The implementation process for pendency orders and final hearing decisions now takes months longer than it did in pre-pandemic days. Previously straightforward tuition funding has been complicated by the DOE’s demands for increased documentation including, among other things, schools’ remote learning plans.
A recent federal court decision in the class action lawsuit L.V. v NYCDOE has put an end to that. The judge ruled that the DOE may no longer withhold or delay ordered disbursements of tuition while they ostensibly review and approve remote learning plans.
The Court rejected the DOE’s argument that it was protecting the public interest and the State treasury by declining to issue payments until it could somehow ensure the validity of the education for which tax dollars were being disbursed. The judge instead upheld the legal principle that a decision from an impartial hearing officer (IHO) was final and binding. There is no justification for the DOE to “re-evaluate the propriety” of the IHO’s order by insisting on its own administrative evaluation of the educational services awarded to the students. That determination was already made by the IHO, and the DOE must follow the order as written.
We want to acknowledge Advocates For Children's wonderful work in securing this important decision. This latest success is one more tool in our ongoing efforts to expedite the processing of all disbursements to parents, schools, and providers.