A Fresno mom who has battled Fresno Unified administrators for years to get her special needs daughter education she never received is finally closing the books on the hard fought battle.
At their meeting Wednesday night, school board trustees voted unanimously to settle the only remaining court case against Alice de Alba-Uribe and her now-adult daughter Krista Uribe with a $216,750 payout intended to cover the family’s attorney fees. The board voted during closed session, a private portion of its bi-monthly meeting, and did not elaborate on the settlement.
Details will be made public later this week, the district’s general counsel Mary Beth de Goede said, after private information is redacted from the deal.
The move puts to bed an appeal the district filed a year ago, which sought to overrule an administrative law judge’s decision that awarded Uribe make-up education classes that she didn’t receive while she attended high school.
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Uribe is intellectually disabled and was twice removed by district officials from her former high school because of her disabilities. The Bee has followed her family closely since 2012, when it first reported on de Alba-Uribe’s struggle to keep her daughter at Duncan Polytechnical High School.
De Alba-Uribe has long said her daughter was discriminated against and unable to get basic special education services. Meanwhile, court documents show, district administrators were looking to place Uribe in an adult transition program that her mother opposed.
The family has been tangled in a costly legal cobweb for years: Uribe’s mother has fought and won three administrative hearings and wrangled with the district over two separate federal court cases. Federal Magistrate Judge Michael Seng dismissed one of those cases in August, leaving only one remaining case on the table. The district has spent upward of $360,000 fighting the cases. District officials said an updated figure on how much was spent on attorneys was not immediately available.
Wednesday’s vote ties up that final loose end.
The family’s attorney Tania Whiteleather hadn’t been officially notified of the vote, but in a phone interview acknowledged the deal. She said she couldn’t offer details because of a confidentiality clause included in the agreement.
“We were proceeding (with the case), we had some (court) dates coming up, we entered a settlement in a way that we wanted,” Whiteleather said. “That’s all I can say.”