1. Sorry, we don't have the money.



Many school districts are struggling with shrinking budgets, and under funded mandates (I.D.E.A. has never been fully funded at the promised amount from the feds.) However, the fact of the matter is that the school district must provide a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) for your child. If you are advocating for something that your child needs that is going to cost the school district money, it is not your problem as a parent how they are going to come up with the money. Here are some responses to use:

"I can appreciate the dilemma that you face in these times of budgetary constraints, but what we really need to focus on right now is the need for _________."(add your issue, i.e. 'Kate needs to be able to access closed captioning on the TV when the teacher is showing a film')

"It's really a matter of prioritizing the money that the district does have, and for our conversation today, this issue isn't about money, this is about ________." (add issue, 'Sam having an interpreter for communication access')

"Let's not end the conversation about Joe's need because of money - maybe this won't cost as much as you think. Other schools have come up with innovative ways to meet this need." (i.e. donations from the school PTA, community contributions etc.)


Don't get sucked into conversations about how YOU are going to help with the fundraising for the costs of your child's needs


  • Stay focused on the needs of YOUR CHILD!
  • Stay away from conversations about costs of services!
  • Make sure your request is appropriate -(click here to go to considerations for deaf/hh students).
  • Stay flexible on how but firm that a required service be provided.

The Law:

Section 1400(d) of IDEA states that student's with disabilities are entitled to a FAPE, or free appropriate public education. When a service for a student is being discussed, an IEP team should never discuss the costs involved for providing appropriate services. This falls under the obligations of the school district providing the services. Case law supports the idea that a school district cannot use the financial cost of a service as a reason for denying services (Cedar Rapids Community school District vs. Garret F.), no. 96-743

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