The Second Circuit has held that substantial compliance with IDEA is not sufficient to prevent a preliminary injunction being issued against a school district. While the Secretary of Education is permitted to withhold funds from a school district that has not substantially complied with IDEA, that requirement does not provide a district to avoid injunctive relief if it substantially complies with the statute. It is required to provide a free, appropriate public education.
The Second Circuit, in DD v. New York City Department of Education, however, held that the plaintiffs were not entitled to relief immediately, but "as soon as possible."
The case was remanded to the District Court for a decision under the correct standards. The Court suggested that the preliminary injunction motion be combined with the merits and that the entire controversy be adjuciated.
The decision can be found here.