Firm obtains reimbursement ruling for charter school

PROVIDENCE (April 21, 2015) – Matt Plain and Greg Vanden-Eykel recently obtained a ruling from the Rhode Island Department of Education that a public school district should not have refused to pay the tuition of a charter school student who resides outside the area served by the school.

A policy of the charter school allows children of teachers at the school to attend even if they reside outside the school’s catchment area and do not participate in a student lottery. This policy is consistent with a statewide regulation of charter schools exempting students of teachers from participating in an enrollment lottery.

Plain and Vanden-Eykel successfully argued on behalf of the charter school that the policy was incorporated into the school’s reauthorized charter in August 2009, which occurred prior to the student attending the school.

The Department of Education hearing officer rejected the public school district’s argument that the regulation was not incorporated into the school’s lottery and enrollment policy until the school’s Board of Directors expressly authorized it in 2014, which occurred after the tuition was incurred.

According to the hearing officer, the Board of Directors’ approval of the statewide regulation in 2014 as part of the school’s enrollment policy was “a correction and update of the [school’s] existing Lottery and Enrollment Policy to reflect the fact that [the state policy] had been included in an amendment to the reauthorized Charter, and therefore was in effect since the date the Charter was reauthorized.”

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