Concord-Carlisle Regional School District – BSEA #02-3458
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
BUREAU OF SPECIAL EDUCATION APPEALS
In re: Concord-Carlisle Regional School District
BSEA # 02-3458
RULING ON CONCORD-CARLISLE REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT’S MOTION TO JOIN THE MINUTEMAN REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
The Parents of Student filed an appeal with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals on May 15, 2002, claiming that their daughter required a special education placement at the Eagle Hill School. They asserted that neither Minuteman nor Concord-Carlisle proposed an appropriate placement for the 2000–2001 school year. They failed, however, to clarify whether their appeal was solely against Concord-Carlisle, or whether such appeal was against Concord-Carlisle as well as the Minuteman Regional High School (Minuteman). The BSEA named Concord-Carlisle as the party to this appeal, and thereafter, requested that the Parents clarify whether they were naming both parties. They failed to do so.
On May 16, 2002, Concord-Carlisle filed a Motion to Join Minuteman as a necessary party in this proceeding. It asserts that Minuteman failed to provide all of the services set forth in Student’s tenth grade IEP; that although Minuteman recommended eleventh grade services similar to the tenth grade services, it failed to issue an IEP; that Minuteman possesses the most current information about Student, and that such will be necessary at the BSEA hearing; and finally, that Minuteman committed substantive and procedural violations rendering them responsible for Student’s subsequent placement.
On May 28, 2002, Minuteman filed its Motion in Opposition to such Motion to Join, asserting that it is not a necessary party for resolving the dispute; that it has no legal interest in the matter; that Concord-Carlisle’s assertion regarding Minuteman’s failure to fully implement the 2000–2001 IEP is irrelevant to the current dispute; and that Concord-Carlisle has no standing to raise such claim. Further, it asserts that Minuteman’s failure to write a 2001-2002 IEP does not provide a basis for joinder; that Concord-Carlisle can obtain information necessary for the BSEA hearing from Minuteman without joining it as a party; and finally, that Concord-Carlisle’s unsubstantiated and vague allegation that because of “procedural and substantive violations”, Minuteman is responsible for Student’s subsequent placement, is contradicted by the law. That is, when a student requires a residential educational program, the responsibility shifts to the school of residence, Concord-Carlisle in this case. (See 603 CMR 28. 03(4)(i)(1)).
Concord-Carlisle’s MOTION TO JOIN MINUTEMAN is hereby DENIED, for it is neither a necessary party to this proceeding in order to obtain complete relief, nor does it have an interest relating to the subject matter such that the case cannot be disposed of in its absence – the requirement for joinder. (See BSEA Rule 1(f)) As stated by Minuteman, “when stripped of the noise and heat, this is a private school reimbursement case.”
Parents in this case seek reimbursement for the 2001–2002 school year’s tuition at a residential special education school. According to Massachusetts’ special education law, such remedy, if appropriate, would be ordered against the resident school district, Concord-Carlisle, not the vocational school, Minuteman. The relevant regulation states:
If the [vocational school’s] Team … determines that the student requires an out-of-district program to provide the services identified on student’s IEP, then programmatic and financial responsibility shall return to the resident school district. … 603 28.03(4)(i)(1)(iii)
Concord-Carlisle raises several theories as to why its potential responsibilities under the law may be shifted to Minuteman. They are unpersuasive. First, Concord-Carlisle lacks standing to assert any alleged claims against Minuteman for compensatory services.1 Second, putting the standing issue aside, Concord-Carlisle has provided nothing to support a claim that any 2000–2001 school year violations were so egregious as to warrant a residential school placement as compensation. Third, that Minuteman failed to develop a 2001–2002 IEP after being informed that Student had enrolled in a residential school, would not warrant a finding that Minuteman should reimburse Parents. Given Massachusetts’ law, Minuteman would reasonably assume that they were no longer responsible for developing an IEP. In fact, Minuteman informed Parents of this. (See Minuteman’s Exhibit #5) Finally, through the subpoena power, Concord-Carlisle clearly can obtain Minuteman’s current information regarding Student in ways other than joining it as a party.
For these reasons, Minuteman is neither a necessary party nor an interested party in the resolution of this case. Accordingly, Concord-Carlisle’s Motion to Join is DENIED.
By the Hearing Officer,
Sandra W. Sherwood
Date: June 12, 2002
Note that when asked to clarify, Parents failed to state that they were naming Minuteman as a party in this case.