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School boards get coverage for special ed lawsuits

Virginia public school officials score a win at the Supreme Court of Virginia today with a decision that the state’s insurance plan for school systems must cover school districts for lawsuits under the federal special education law.

The ruling means the state owes the Newport News school district nearly $200,000, and probably more, since there is an award of costs with the decision in School Board v. Commonwealth.

Special education disputes start out as administrative proceedings, which the insurance plan expressly does not cover. When the fight over services moves to federal court, however, the matter becomes civil litigation and the school system is entitled to a defense and coverage for damages, the court decided.

By Peter Vieth

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