BB vs. Council Rock School District

This is a redacted version of the original hearing officer decision. Select details
may have been removed from the decision to preserve anonymity of the student.
The redactions do not affect the substance of the document.

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: BB

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing: 4/28/09, 6/4/09, 6/12/

CLOSED HEARING

ODR No. 9474/08-09 AS

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents
Mr. & Mrs.

School District

Council Rock
The Chancellor Center
30 North Chancellor Street Newtown, PA 18940

Representative:

Parent Attorney

Heidi Konkler-Goldsmith, Esq., McAndrews Law Office
30 Cassatt Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312

School District Attorney

Jennifer Donaldson, Esq.
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 Butler Avenue, P.O. Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901-0934

Date Record Closed: July 27, 2009
Date of Decision: August 11, 2009
Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

At the time the issues involved in this due process hearing arose, Student was an IDEA eligible student who resided and had been educated in Council Rock School District. In the spring of 2005, between Student’s 9th and 10th grade school years, the District completed a reevaluation report which Parents considered inappropriate. The District ultimately prevailed in the federal court case that was ultimately brought as a result of the due process complaint triggered by the parties’ disagreement over the reevaluation.

Before the litigation on that matter was completed, the parties disagreed again over a program and placement proposed by the District in December 2005 for the remainder of the 2005/2006 school year. Parents withdrew Student from the District, enrolled Student in a private school and commenced a due process hearing to obtain tuition reimbursement and compensatory education. By agreement of the parties, that complaint was dismissed without prejudice to Parents’ right to reassert the claims after a final decision on the reevaluation complaint, since the program /placement issues would inevitably be affected by the outcome of that case.

After Parents renewed those claims in this case, the parties reached a partial agreement, leaving only one underlying issue to be determined: whether Parents are entitled to tuition reimbursement based upon an IDEA violation or a violation of §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The parties also agreed that the only IEP to be considered was offered by the District in December 2005

After a three session hearing in the spring of 2009 and written closing arguments by counsel, this matter is ready for disposition. For the reasons explained below, Parents’ claim for tuition reimbursement is denied.

ISSUES

1. Are Student ’s Parents entitled to tuition reimbursement under the IDEA statute and regulations from January 2006 through Student’s graduation at the end of the 2007/2008 school year?

  1. Did Council Rock School District propose an appropriate program and placement for Student on December 12, 2005?
  2. If not, was the private school selected by Parents appropriate for Student?
  3. If so, are there any equitable considerations supporting denial or reduction of reimbursement?

2. Even if there was no IDEA violation, did Council Rock School District’s actions in this matter violate §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, thereby supporting tuition reimbursement?

BB-The-Chancellor-Center-ODRNo-9474-08-09-AS

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