By Linaja Murray, CSNLG Attorney
When a student’s educational program is not appropriate, family members may privately fund after-school services to assist the student and seek reimbursement. Common examples of this include after-school tutoring or remediation in the area of reading, writing, and math. Families may also privately fund additional after-school services such as occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, vision therapy, behavioral therapy, and counseling.
In some cases, families may fund an entire educational program at a private school and seek reimbursement.
Whenever a family is privately funding an educational program or service, keeping clear payment records is absolutely essential to seeking reimbursement. Frequently, reimbursement for privately funded services is accomplished in a settlement agreement following the filing of a due process complaint, which may require the assistance of an attorney.
If you are privately funding an educational program or after-school therapies/services, you should adhere to the following guidelines:
- Request and keep all invoices from service providers Store these invoices in a separate folder on your computer that is easily accessible prior to and during mediation.
- Make all payments using a trackable method. The preferred method for privately funding services is payment by personal check. A secondary method that allows for reimbursement is debit and credit card transactions showing that a payment was made. Copies of canceled checks or bank statements will be required for proof of payment. Payment in cash complicates settlement negotiations and should be avoided whenever possible.
- Keep clear records. An excel sheet (like the one linked here) showing the invoice number, cost of service, and payment method will be very helpful in settlement negotiations.
Here is a spreadsheet to help you keep track of those expenses.