Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Inc. v. Mumin

New Decision

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association and three Pennsylvania school districts seek to prohibit the Pennsylvania Department of Education from enforcing a provision of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that requires the Commonwealth to provide a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) to disabled children until their 22nd birthday.

Juvenile Law Center joined two disabled students and their families, along with the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and the Education Law Center, in filing an amicus brief in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in support of the Respondents. The brief argued that federal and Pennsylvania law require school districts to provide a FAPE to students with disabilities until they turn 22. The brief further argued that balance of equities requires denial of the Petitioners’ requested relief, as there is nothing inequitable in requiring the Petitioners to follow the law, while disabled students and their families will suffer great harm if they are denied the FAPEs to which they are entitled. 

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of the Petitioners, holding that the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s new age-out plan, which provided that FAPEs shall be available to disabled children until they turn 22, is void and unenforceable because the Department had not promulgated it through formal rulemaking notice and comment requirements. Importantly, the Court noted that it did “not decide whether the New Age-Out Plan is necessary for the Department to comply with the IDEA, just that the Department must promulgate the change in accordance with” relevant laws.