What is a Hardship?
A Hardship Appeal is the process by which families of students in grades JK-8 request an expedited (faster) school transfer due to harm caused by their child’s current school placement. On June 18, 2013 the Cambridge School Committee defined new criteria for Hardship appeals. Hardships are further defined below.
Again, the most significant change to the Hardship policy is that Hardships may not be used to gain admission to a specific school.
How do families request a transfer on the basis of hardship (harm) to the child?
Parents who can show that their child’s school assignment causes a hardship may appeal their school assignment. A Hardship Appeal Form may be downloaded from the Family Resource Center’s form page or requested at the Family Resource Center in person.
After the application is filled out, you are required to submit the form with relevant supporting documentation to the Family Resource Center, where it will be reviewed to see if it meets the criteria for a hardship hearing.
If your application meets the criteria, the FRC will notify you of the next available appointment for a Hardship hearing, usually within 2-6 weeks depending on the time of year.
What is supporting documentation?
In addition to the Hardship Appeal Form, parents/guardians are required to provide supporting documentation. This can include, but is not limited to:
Can I be denied a Hardship Appeal Hearing?
Yes. The Director of the Family Resource Center or designee will review your form and required supporting documentation for completeness and may consult with the parents/guardians or other individuals if further clarification is needed. Your hearing can be denied if the Hardship Appeal form is not complete, if supporting documentation is not submitted, and/or the hardship appeal does not meet the criteria for a hardship as defined above. If your request does not meet the criteria, you will be notified by mail and no hardship hearing will be scheduled.
This letter will explain why the Hearing was not granted, and will recommend other possible routes to meeting the child’s needs. You may wish to revise your hardship appeal request, or may appeal for re-consideration by contacting the Superintendent of Schools, as stated on the Hardship Appeal Form.
What is a Hardship Appeal Hearing?
In a Hardship Appeal Hearing, the Hardship Committee will meet with a family to hear the family’s appeal, or reasons why the child’s current school assignment poses a hardship for the child. The Hardship Committee consists of a small group of neutral staff people who are not familiar with the family or associated with the child’s school. Families are invited to bring additional documentation and support people to this hearing to assist with their presentation of the facts and issues involved.
After the Hearing, the members of the Hardship Committee will make a recommendation to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, who will make the final decision regarding all hardship appeals.
Who will be serving on the Hardship Appeals Hearing Committee?
The Hardship Committee is group of neutral staff members, who do not work for your child’s school or for the Family Resource Center. They will hear your appeal and ask you clarifying questions.
How will I be notified of the Hardship decision?
The Hardship Committee will take time to deliberate and then vote on their decision. Families are notified of the Committee’s decision by letter, usually within 1-2 weeks.
What happens if my Hardship is not granted?
If a hardship is not granted, the Committee will send you an explanation letter, usually within 1-2 weeks. Whenever possible, the Committee will recommend other routes to meeting the child’s needs. Families who wish to appeal the decision of the Hardship Committee may appeal to the Superintendent of Schools.
What happens if my Hardship is granted?
If a hardship is granted, the Superintendent or his designee will work with the family to find an appropriate school for the student. In most cases, a placement will be sought that will allow an immediate transfer in order to address the student’s needs. However, a new school assignment must still follow the Controlled Choice Policy’s requirement of SES balance. In some cases the student may be placed at the top of one or more waitlists if no seat is available that would meet his or her needs. If more than one family is at the top of a waitlist due to hardship, they will be ordered by date.
For further guidance contact the Family Resource Center:
Email the Appeals Manager, Ilda Jupe
Hours: Monday - Friday | 8:30AM - 3:30PM
Tel: 617.349.6551 | Fax: 617.349.6552
We are available to assist you during business hours all year long, except holidays.