Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Fort Thomas schools settle complaint case

Parents wanted $300K for home schooling

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

The Fort Thomas School District reached a settlement with Paul and Cheryl Hansman, minutes before a three-day due process hearing was scheduled to begin Friday.

The Hansmans were seeking nearly $300,000 from the district after filing an administrative complaint in April with the Kentucky Department of Education.

They claimed their son, Paul, who has trouble communicating verbally because of severe apraxia, was not given a teacher aide and special equipment needed to function in a mainstream classroom for the last two years at Highlands Middle School.

"We were getting ready to start (the hearing) when their attorney asked me if we could talk for a few minutes," said Randy Blankenship, attorney for the Hansmans.

"We reached a settlement that is subject to approval by the board of education."

Blankenship said he and his client could not discuss details of the settlement because both sides agreed to a confidentiality provision.

"All I can say is both parties came to an agreement," said Cheryl Hansman.

The Hansmans pulled Paul, 14, out of school in December, home-schooling him for the rest of the year.

They wanted the district to reimburse them for that and pay for home-schooling costs for the next two years.

The district has been unable to discuss the issue publicly because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the privacy of student education records.

Violation of the act could jeopardize federal funding for the district.

"I can tell you we're very pleased," said the district's lawyer, Donald Ruberg.

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