BD vs. Spring-Ford 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

DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: BD

ODR #7229/06-07 LS

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing:
April 17, 2007
April 23, 2007
April 24, 2007

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Spring-Ford Area School District 199 Bechtel Road
Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426

Representative:
Vivian Narehood, Esquire Gibbel, Kraybill & Hess
41 East Orange Street Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602

Karl Romberger, Esquire
Fox Rothschild O’Brien & Frankel 1250 S. Broad Street PO Box 431 Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19446

Date Record Closed: May 11, 2007
Date of Decision: May 26, 2007
Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D.

Background1

Student is a xx year old, second grade, eligible student who resides in the Spring-Ford Area School District (hereinafter District). He has been classified under the category of specific learning disability. Following reading specialist assistance in the school setting during kindergarten, he was placed with parental permission in a Skills Mastery Class (SMC) for first grade; the class addressed the needs of students who were in regular education but needed extra academic supports. Parents2 became dissatisfied and in early November effected a change to an ordinary first grade classroom taught by a teacher whom they preferred. At the same time as his transfer, the Parents and District decided to pursue a multidisciplinary evaluation for which the Parents gave written permission. Just prior to the commencement of the evaluation the Parents told the District to cease all testing until the date they anticipated an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) would be finished. In April 2006, following the completion of the IEE, they removed Student from the District and unilaterally enrolled him in a private school for children with learning disabilities. Given another signed permission, the District completed its evaluation of Student towards the end of the academic year and produced an Evaluation Report (ER) by July. The District convened an IEP meeting in September 2006, following an aborted attempt to meet in August 2006. The Parents participated in the meeting but declined the District’s proffered placement.

The Parents allege that the District denied Student FAPE, having failed in its Child Find obligations by not identifying him at an earlier time. They also contend that the District’s proposed IEP for the 2006-2007 school year did not offer him FAPE. They are seeking compensatory education, reimbursement for the IEE and tuition reimbursement for the private school for the end of the first grade year, the summer program of 2006, and the 2006-2007 school year. The District maintains that it offered FAPE at all times, and that none of the remedies sought by the Parents should be awarded.

Issues

  1. Did the Spring-Ford Area School District deny Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) through a failure to exercise its Child Find responsibilities in a timely manner?
  2. If the District denied Student FAPE, is he entitled to compensatory education, and in what amount and what type?
  1. Are the Parents entitled to reimbursement for the independent educational evaluation (IEE) they obtained for Student?
  2. Are the Parents entitled to tuition reimbursement for the private school into which they unilaterally placed Student?
BD-Spring-Ford-Area-ODRNo-7229-06-07-LS

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