The question centers on what educational benefits are guaranteed to a child with disabilities by a public school under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The case, which dates to 2010, will likely not be heard by the Supreme Court until at least 2017.
The student involved is identified only as Endrew F. in court documents. He attend Summit View Elementary in Highlands Ranch.
The suit was filed through his parents, Joseph F. and Jennifer F., according to the documents. The attorney for the family is listed as Jack D. Robinson, with Spies, Powers and Robinson, P.C., of Denver.
Robinson said the case would prove that the standard of a "free appropriate public education" is set too low, and that students with disabilities deserve a meaningful education.
"The Douglas County School District has set the bar woefully low," he said.
Robinson said he has never argued a case before the Supreme Court, but will be working with co-counsel that has experience doing so.
The case will likely begin with oral arguments in mid-January and have a decision in March or April, Robinson said.
He said he is confident in the merits of the case and believes they could have a nationwide impact on schools and students with special needs.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, public schools must provide children with disabilities a "free appropriate public education."
The mechanism by which schools meet this requirement is the individualized education program, or IEP, according to court documents. IEP's were established by the case Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley in 1982, a case out of Peekskill, New York. Each IEP must be "reasonably calculated to confer an educational benefit on the child."
Endrew F. was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder a year after that, court documents say. His autism affects his cognitive functioning, language and reading skills, and his social and adaptive abilities.
He attended Douglas County schools from preschool through fourth grade. During that time, he received special-education services, including IEPs tailored to meet his unique needs.
"At the conclusion of an especially rocky fourth-grade year, Drew's parents, Joseph and Jennifer F., decided Drew was not making any meaningful progress and rejected the IEP proposed by the District for fifth grade," the documents state. "As a result, they withdrew him from the District and instead enrolled him at Firefly Autism House, a private school (in Denver) that specializes in educating autistic children. The parents then turned to the District for reimbursement of Drew's private-school tuition and related expenses."
In August 2015, the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the school district did provide a "a free appropriate public education."
"We find sufficient support in the record to affirm the findings of the administrative law judge that the child received some educational benefit while in the District's care and that is enough to satisfy the District's obligation to provide a free appropriate public education," the court wrote in its ruling. "...the District did not violate the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act... and is not required to reimburse the cost of the student's private school education."
The school district's denial of reimbursement had been upheld in administrative court and federal district court before being affirmed in appeals court.
School district officials would not comment on specific matters related to the case Thursday afternoon.
"It would be inappropriate to discuss the specifics of the case while it is still being litigated, but the court's decision today is not a decision on the merits, and we look forward to addressing the issues before the Court," the school district said in a statement.
Board of Education President Meghann Silverthorn said the board would need to speak to the district's legal counsel before commenting on the case in detail, but said she "looks forward to the situation being resolved."
"We all want to provide every child with the best education we possibly can," Silverthorn said.
With the right music, these sights just sing.
The transition from summer to autumn heralds some big stylistic changes for me. I trade all the brashness of summer sounds for bittersweet acoustic guitars, pianos and vocal harmonies. Whereas summer is about brightness -- from big horn lines to danceable synths and rhythms -- autumn is more introspective and quiet.
This embracing of melancholy seems fitting to me, since autumn is often such a swift season in our state. It has barely arrived before branches are bare and we're shoveling snow. I have so many memories of Halloweens spoiled by the year's first snowstorm.
Of course, one of the most common complaints about the summer-to-fall transition is the cooling temperatures. It means winter is just around the corner, and you can't go outside in anything less than jeans, boots and a sweater. But these cooler temperatures and gray days are why the warmth and intimacy of an acoustic guitar is so welcome.
Records made by a small group of people in a room, notes you can actually hear being plucked always sound more like home. I can't imagine a better soundtrack to the season than Nick Drake or Fleet Foxes' staggeringly pretty approaches to folk music. They're like warm musical blankets.
It's easy to get gloomy this time of year, especially with the aforementioned weather and the desolate-looking scenery. Add in longer nights, and it's understandable why some people get seasonal affective disorder around autumn.
Many of us spend much time and money trying to avoid sadness, which, let's be honest, is an impossible task. Autumn shows us the incredible beauty and regenerative nature of sorrow. The right soundtrack does the same thing.
I have always loved sad songs more than any other -- I find solace in music that embraces life's somber moments. Put on songs like Bob Dylan's "If You See Her, Say Hello," or Zac Brown Band's "Cold Weather," and really snuggle into the sadness. There's a lot of beauty to be heard.
Music certainly won't cure you from any melancholy, but it's the best way I know to get through it -- and even, maybe, benefit from those feelings.
So, as you're putting away your summer clothes, my advice is to do the same for your summer music. Pull out what makes you feel warm and comfortable -- something that feels lived in and welcoming. It will have to last you through winter.
Clarke Reader's column on how music connects to our lives appears every other week. A community editor with Colorado Community Media, he is more than ready for an autumn of sad songs. Check out his music blog at calmacil20.blogspot.com. And share your favorite autumn music at firstname.lastname@example.org.]]>
"With so much development everywhere else," she said, "this is our island of history that we want to protect."
Shocker is among the Highlands Ranch residents who are worried about Xcel Energy's newly proposed natural gas regulator station that would be built near several schools and the historic mansion on land owned by Shea Properties. Residents cite concerns about property values, safety and obstructed views of the ranch property.
The request comes on the heels of a withdrawn proposal to build the regulator station on a different piece of property, near an elementary school, in Highlands Ranch earlier this year.
The energy company now plans to build a 20-foot by 20-foot regulator station about 750 feet southeast of the Highlands Ranch Mansion, which sits on a grassy hilltop north of East Wildcat Reserve Parkway. Adjacent above-ground piping --; which will be surrounded by barbed wire --; will be 24 feet by 24 feet to allow periodic inspections to clean and check the pipeline.
Xcel officials say the natural gas regulator station is designed at higher specifications than normal to ensure safety and that its aesthetics will blend in with the nearby ranch structures.
"The bottom line is that it's in an area that is not accessible by the public and it won't be something that people come across," said Tom Henley, Xcel's area manager, community and local government affairs. "And it's on private property."
The proposed station would deliver natural gas to residential and business customers in northwest Douglas County, including Sterling Ranch --; a large community under construction south of Chatfield Reservoir --; and the Roxborough Water and Sanitation District, Henley said.
Opposition to new proposal
Linda and Don Andrews live in Stratford Court --; a neighborhood off Venneford Road east of the mansion --; and worry about their home value decreasing. They purchased their lot in 1993, after being on a waiting list for a year and a half and paying a lot premium of more than $25,000, Linda said. Their backyard faces the mansion property and has views of the ranch buildings, windmill and pastureland.
"I'm 60 years old --; I don't plan on moving, but I think its going to impact the value of my home substantially," Linda said of the regulator station and above-ground piping. "I sit on my deck and enjoy my view every day and I think that's going to go away."
Xcel officials emphasize the aesthetics of the natural gas regulator station will match the current ranch structures with the same siding and roof color, according to Henley.
The Highlands Ranch Metro District, which owns the Mansion, also had input in the projects's design. The building is set at one of the lowest points on the property to limit visual impact, said Carrie Ward, the Metro District's director of parks, recreation and open space.
"Between its location, size and material, it will look like one of the ranch buildings," Ward said. "I don't think it will stick out like a sore thumb at all."
Xcel's plans also call for approximately three miles of underground 12-inch pipeline that will run from the regulator station into the Backcountry Wilderness Area --; south of East Wildcat Reserve Parkway --; near several homes and three schools: Summit View Elementary, Mountain Ridge Middle and Mountain Vista High School.
Jeremy Andersen, a parent of two Mountain Vista students and a Mountain Ridge student, said he's most concerned with his children's safety.
"Especially if there is a high-volume natural gas line 100 yards from the school parking lot," he said. "We want to get all three of our kids through high school --; it's a great place at Mountain Vista --; we just want to make sure it's a safe place."
In past discussions, Xcel said the regulator system is considered safe because it will have a closed pipe so gas will stay inside and a constant monitor that will sound an alarm if anything goes wrong. Xcel will also conduct a periodic leak test. The structures are located throughout the metro area, even in some backyards, Xcel officials said.
Xcel expects construction to begin in November and to be complete in May of next year.
Shea Properties, which owns the land the natural gas regulator station will be built on, and the Highlands Ranch Community Assocation, which owns part of the land the pipeline runs through in the Back Country Wilderness Area, are in the process of granting an easement for the proposed structure.
The Board of Douglas County Commissioners does not have a review or approval role for this project, according to Steve Koster, the county's assistant director of planning services.The Douglas County Planning Commission will review a location and extent application, under a Colorado state law that requires the planning commission to review plans for public facilities or utilities by governments or public utility companies --; such as a road, park, open space or utility --; prior to construction, according to the county.
If the planning commission were to deny the application, Xcel could appeal to the Public Utilities Commission, Koster said.
The planning commission hearing for the project is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Phillip S. Miller Building, Commissioners Hearing Room, 100 Third St., Castle Rock.
In early March, Xcel planned to install a 12-inch connection below ground to an existing underground pipeline in the open space behind Saddle Ranch Elementary School, 805 W. English Sparrow Trail, near Wildcat Reserve Parkway and South Broadway. The structure itself would have been 50 feet by 65 feet and less than 100 feet from Saddle Ranch's playground.
The addition would have delivered natural gas to residents in Sterling Ranch, a large community under construction south of Chatfield Reservoir in northern Douglas County.
Following opposition from residents, Xcel officials held a community meeting at Eastridge Recreation Center on March 10 to elaborate on the project and gather input. Residents who live near the proposed site and have children at Saddle Ranch worried about safety, noise and a negative effect on property values. Xcel withdrew its original proposal on May 3.
The following meetings will address plans for Xcel Energy's proposed natural gas regulator station in Highlands Ranch:
HRCA Development Review Meeting, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at Eastridge Recreation Center, 9568 S. University Blvd.
Backcountry Wilderness Area Community Open House, 6 p.m. Oct. 6 at Westridge Recreation Center, 9650 Foothills Canyon Blvd.
HRCA Board and Delegate meeting, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Eastridge Recreation Center, 9568 S. University Blvd.]]>
Residents had their first opportunity to see each work of art and the 2016 winners at the Expo's Opening Cocktail Reception on Sept. 24.
Lone Tree Mayor Jackie Millet was on hand to welcome more than 100 guests in attendance and to thank the staff, volunteers and the artists for their dedication to bringing art to the community.
"It makes a tremendous difference to the city of Lone Tree to have a vibrant arts center and arts community, and that would not be happening without the great work of the (Lone Tree) Arts Commission," Millet said. "The city is only 21 years old, so the fact that the arts were prioritized almost at the infancy of the city is a testament to this community and our priorities."
This year, the expo marked its fifth year at the Lone Tree Arts Center and featured 68 works by 45 artists from around the state. Judging was conducted in five categories: drawing, mixed media, painting, sculpture and watercolor.
This year's juror was Brian DeLevie, associate professor of design and chair of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Colorado, Denver.
DeLevie was not able to attend the reception, but in his prepared remarks, read by Mary Hardin, vice chair of the arts council, he said that he was inspired by the Oscar Wilde quote, "A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament."
DeLevie said his judgment of each work went beyond craftsmanship, technical skill and presentation. He felt that he needed to look deeper to whittle down the 269 works entered.
"I had to consider the more intangible," he wrote. "Those aspects that allow artistic work to transcend their materiality and literal nature, and speak to our emotionally empathetic and spiritual selves."
This year's Best of Show award went to David Kammerzell for his painting titled "Heartless Smokey Bill," and the Commissioners' Choice award winner went to Stacy Lewis for her painting, "Summer Sky."
He also thanked the artists not selected for their effort and bravery for submitting their work and encouraged them to hone their craft and believe in their art.
Each work presented at the expo is available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis through the end of the show on Nov. 13. Prices range from $195 to $7,500. Each work will remain on display through the end of the expo and purchases must be picked up at the arts center on Nov. 14.
For more information about the Lone Tree Art Expo, visit http://cityoflonetree.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=745982&pageId=1906809
Best of ShowDavid Kammerzell --; Heartless Smokey Bill (Painting)
Commissioners' ChoiceStacy Lewis --; Summer Sky (Paining)
DrawingFirst Place: Marcie Cohen --; Winter Colors
Mixed MediaFirst Place: Aicha Jacob --; Key EleganceSecond Place: Susan Kacik --; Tranquility
PaintingFirst Place: David Kammerzell --; Heartless Smokey BillSecond Place: Stephen Austin --; Fissure #2
SculptureFirst Place: Fred Lunger --; Great Blue Heron (Vase)Second Place: Archie Suniga --; Missing You Always
WatercolorFirst Place: Craig L. Davis --; Humble Bumble BeesSecond Place: Judy Cochrane --; Monet's Tulip Bed]]>
"It's a nice addition to our fitness program here at Lone Tree and with South Suburban," said Peggy Golden, Bodypump certified instructor. "We started it at Goodson Recreation Center in January, and it took off like gangbusters. The people who take the class, they just love it."
The theme of the fast-paced weightlifting class set to music includes multiple repetitions with low weights, isolating each muscle group for five minutes and working them to fatigue. Participants use barbells, or beginners can work the routines with either dumbbells or just their own body weight.
"You work various parts of your body. You start out with squats and then you move to the chest area. There is a back track, biceps, triceps, lunges and a shoulder track. Abs at the end," Golden said.
Golden recommends two Bodypump workouts each week as the strength component of a three-part regimen, which includes a core training component found in yoga and Pilates classes along with cardiovascular conditioning such as biking, swimming or running.
"I don't see anyone who couldn't try this class unless they had a joint problem or injury. Anybody can do it, and we don't have anything like this in our fitness program," she said. "The first time you try it, do half a class, and then come back and try half the class plus a little bit more."
In addition to general fitness, lifting helps slow the loss of muscle mass as the body ages. At 56 years old, Golden said that the workout has helped her both physically and mentally, and though she describes the work out as "killer," she says that it is also the kind of program that anyone can ease into regardless of age.
"It's very manageable for any age group," she said.
Participants can sign up for a class at the rec center up to 24 hours in advance. The first Bodypump class will begin on Oct. 3. Initially Golden plans to hold five classes per week, and plans additional sessions later this year once more instructors have received certifications.
Anyone interested in taking or teaching the Bodypump class can find more information at the South Suburban Parks and Recreation website: www.ssprd.org/News-And-Events/Post/16978/BODYPUMP-is-newest-offering-at-Lone-Tree-Recreation-Center]]>