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Firm hired to handle West Jefferson Hills special education cases

| Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

West Jefferson Hills leaders hired legal counsel to handle all special education matters in the school district — a move the superintendent says will add continuity in dealing with these cases.

School board members at a Sept. 26 meeting unanimously accepted a proposal from Patricia Andrews of Forest Hills-based Andrews & Price LLC to serve as special education counsel at a rate of $140 per hour.

Special education matters had been handled by the law firm Tucker Arensberg, which started providing solicitor services to the district in January 2016. However, once cases proceeded to litigation, the district's insurance carrier handed cases over to Andrews & Price, Superintendent Michael Ghilani said.

The district does not have many cases related to special education, Ghilani said. However, board members at the meeting approved a settlement and release related to a special education matter. No details were provided.

Andrews specializes in the area and is “regarded as one of the top special education attorneys for districts in the state of Pennsylvania,” Ghilani said.

“I thought it was in our best interest: Why not just work with her from the beginning?” Ghilani said. “The fee is essentially the same as what we pay Tucker Arensburg. And once we go to litigation, we have to use her anyway, so why not have that continuity.”

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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