UPDATE ON CHANGE IN CALENDAR CASE

Back in October, I reported on a case out of Hawaii where school districts changed the school calendar to have Furlough Fridays in a money saving effort.  Parents of a number of special education students filed suit claiming the change amounted to a change in programing under IDEA, without parental consent.  While not yet ruling on the merits, the U.S. District Court has at least hinted at what the answer might be on this question.  The Court has refused to issue a preliminary injunction to stop Furlough Fridays, finding that it believes the plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on their claims.  Thus, we have a hint of where the Court may be going, but a final decision may be some way off. 

IS A CHANGE IN THE SCHOOL CALENDAR A CHANGE IN PROGRAMING?

In Hawaii, students will now be getting seventeen Fridays off this year and seventeen next year in an effort to save money through a furlough of teachers.  However, several lawyers representing a group of students who qualify for special education have filed a suit trying to stop the plan.  The argument is that by taking seventeen days out of the school year, this is a change in programs and services the disabled children receive.  Given that the parents of these students were not consulted prior to this change, the suit alleges it violates the rights of the parents under IDEA.  The suit seeks a temporary restraining order and the first furlough day is this Friday.  Thus, we may know very shortly if in fact such a change in scheduling is a change that requires parental consent under the IDEA.