When a parent seeks private school tuition reimbursement under 20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(10)(C), they must demonstrate that they have cooperated with their public school district. Specifically, they must show that they have attended all meetings with their district, that they have made their child available for evaluations and that they have considered all options offered by the public school district. There are two other reasons to do all of these things; specifically, you get more with honey and never know!
When you enter your IEP meetings (we call them CSEs in New York), you’ll stand to get more if you are polite and friendly. The army of people on the other side of the table will be inclined to give you more services and supports for your child. This attitude is especially important in suburban districts where private school options are scarce and parents must make efforts to work with the public options. A cooperative attitude will likely get you further than a combative attitude.
If, however, you are considering withdrawing your child from the public program, a ‘sweet’ attitude is still a winner. The public school district might have some state approved private options or cooperative programs that could work for your child. Don’t discount these programs. It’s worthwhile to investigate. Go visit the school and the class. Take note of what you observe and ask for the learning profiles of the children served by the program. You are entitled to make an informed decision. It is entirely possible that a placement offered by a public school is, in fact, pretty darned good for your particular child. In other words, you never know!