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Court Rules Again for County in School Case

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Friday, January 30, 2009

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday in favor of the Montgomery school system in a case that made national headlines four years ago, a dispute over whether public schools provided an adequate education plan to a child with disabilities.

The Schaffer family of Potomac went to court seeking reimbursement for the $17,000 spent in private tuition for their son Brian in the eighth grade, after they rejected the education plan proposed by the public school system. They deemed it inadequate for their son, who had learning disabilities.

The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court on the question of who -- the school system or the family -- bore the burden of proving their case. The court said the burden should fall on the family.

The family went back to a lower court and lost. Yesterday's ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit affirmed the outcome, saying the district court had ruled properly.

-- Daniel de Vise

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