BB vs. Penns Valley Area 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:
9-25-07, 9-26-07, 10-16-07, 10-22-07, 11-07-07, 11-29-07
CLOSED HEARING
ODR #7665/06-07 LS; 7780/06-07 LS

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents

Penns Valley Area School District 4528 Penns Valley Road
Spring Mills, PA 16875-9403

Representative:

Mark W. Voigt. Esquire
Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus 600 W. Germantown Pike, Su. 400 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

Jane M. Williams, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, LLP P.O. Box 5069
New Britain, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: January 11, 2008

Date of Decision: January 26, 2008

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is a xx year old resident of the Penns Valley Area School District (District). (NT 22-18 to 23-5.) He is in ninth grade presently. (NT 24-15 to 20.) He is identified with the exceptionality of autism, and Parents assert that the Student suffers from specific learning disabilities in reading comprehension and written and oral expression. (NT 23-7 to 24-7.) His parents, (Parents), requested in 2007 that the District pay for an independent educational evaluation, and tuition reimbursement for a summer program, which the District denied.

The District requested due process in Number 7665, seeking an order that its evaluation and offer of ESY services were appropriate, and that the summer placement selected by the Parents was too restrictive and failed to address the Student’s needs. The District indicated that the Parents were requesting expedited treatment of their request. The Parents contested the District’s request for due process, seeking reimbursement for both the IEE and the summer school tuition on grounds that the District’s evaluation of the Student and its offer of ESY services were inadequate.

Shortly after the District requested due process, the Parents requested due process in Number 7780, seeking compensatory education for the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years. The Parents asserted that the District’s evaluations failed to address all of the Student’s needs, the IEPs failed to offer FAPE, and the District failed to implement the IEPs appropriately. The Parents waived any claim for expedited treatment of their ESY claim. The District contends that its services were appropriate and that the Parents had agreed with its offers of services.

Both due process requests, numbers 7665 and 7780, were heard together and this decision will be final for both of the matters. Shortly before the hearing commenced, the Parents sought to expand the scope of the due process hearing to include whether or not the District had offered an appropriate program and placement for the 2007-2008 school year, and seeking an order of placement at a private school. In colloquy with the hearing officer, the parties agreed that the scope of the hearing would be expanded to include the appropriateness of the District’s offer of services for the 2007-2008 school year and whether or not the hearing officer should order placement in a private school.

The hearing comprised six sessions between September 25, 2007 and November 29, 2007. Written summations were to be submitted on December 30, 2007, and that deadline was continued to January 9, 2008 at the request of counsel. On January 9, the record closed.

ISSUES

  1. In the 2005 to 2006 school year, did the District fail to offer or provide educational services that were reasonably calculated to provide meaningful educational benefit?
  2. Did the reevaluation of November 2006 fail to address all of the Student’s educational needs?
  3. In the 2006 to 2007 school year, and from the first day of the 2007-2008 school year until September 25, 2007, did the District fail to offer or provide educational services that were reasonably calculated to provide meaningful educational benefit?
  4. Did the District fail to offer ESY services for the summer of 2007 that were necessary to the provision of a free appropriate public education?
  5. Are the Parents entitled to reimbursement for the cost of the Student’s participation in a summer program at [redacted]?
  6. Are the Parents entitled to reimbursement for the cost of an Independent Educational Evaluation and the participation of the independent evaluator at IEP meetings?
  7. Is the Student entitled to an award of compensatory education for all or part of the period beginning on the first day of school, 2005 and ending on the date of the first hearing session in these matters, September 25, 2007?
  8. What is the appropriate placement for the Student for the 2007-2008 school year?
BB-Penns-Valley-Area-ODRNo-7665-06-07-LS

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