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AUTISTIC BOY’S PARENTS SUING

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Author/Byline: Clayton Woullard , Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 28A
The parents of an autistic child have sued the Thompson School District, seeking $16,000 for the boy’s summer tuition at a specialized school in Boston.

Jeff and Julie Perkins, of Berthoud, filed the suit Monday to recoup $15,902.16 they said they will spend to keep their 10-year-old son, Luke, enrolled from July 8 to Aug. 12 in the Boston Higashi School, a private school for the autistic.

The amount is in addition to the more than $200,000 the Larimer County school district was ordered to pay earlier this month for the boy’s schooling.
A federal hearing officer ruled two weeks ago that the school district must reimburse the Perkins for tuition since January 2004, when the couple first enrolled their son in the Boston school.

The Perkins complained that the local district violated the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by failing to provide an adequate education plan for their son.

The hearing officer agreed, ruling that while the boy had made some progress in the Larimer County school, he still had behavioral problems at home and in the community, and therefore, he was not receiving a “free, appropriate public education.”

The school district has appealed the ruling. Thompson Superintendent Dan Johnson said the district doesn’t believe it’s “responsible for a child 24 hours a day.”

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