NYC Education Department to Reimburse The Child of Tom Freston’s Tuition

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The city’s education department will have to pay for the education of Tom Freston’s ADHD diagnosed son. Freston, presently a member of the DreamWorks board, has a Viacom exit package worth an estimated $85 million. From The New York Times:

”New York City pays for private schools for more than 7,000 severely handicapped children because it agrees that it cannot properly instruct them. But, officials said, requests for tuition payments for special education students by parents who have placed their children in private school on their own have more than doubled in five years, to 3,675 in 2006 from 1,519 in 2002. And the cost of these payments grew to more than $57 million in the last school year.

”’The trend has been increasing for several years,’ said Michael Best, general counsel for the city’s Education Department.”

The former Viacom executive sued New York City’s Department of Education for failing to find his son an appropriate public school. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that held that parents who can prove that their child could not get an appropriate education in public schools may sue for reimbursement of private-school tuition. Justice Anthony Kennedy did not participate in the 4-4 decision which allowed the lower court decision to stand.

Critics note that the ruling does not require parents to initially have to place their children in the public school system. The article notes that Freston ”has donated his tuition reimbursement to tutoring for public school children.”