BG vs. Abington School District

This is a redacted version of the original decision. Select details 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: BG

Date of Birth: XX-XX-XXXX

Date of Hearing: December 23, 2009

OPEN HEARING

ODR No. 00510-09-10 LS

Parties to the Hearing:

Dr. Mr.

Dr. Richard Balukas
Director of Special Education Abington School District
970 Highland Avenue Abington, PA 19001

Representative:

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

Claudia Huot, Esquire
Wisler Pearlstine, LLP
Office Court at Walton Point 484 Norristown Road, Suite 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422

Date Record Closed: December 23, 2008

Date of Decision: January 6, 2008

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

“Redacted” (“Student”) is a seven-year-old student residing in the Abington School District (“District”) who has been identified as exceptional and in need of specially designed instruction as a gifted student pursuant to Chapter 16 of the applicable Pennsylvania regulations, 22 Pa. Code §§ 16.1-16.65. The parents filed their request for a due process hearing through counsel on November 25, 2009, in which they challenged the appropriateness of the District’s gifted special education program for Student and sought compensatory education as a remedy. A hearing was scheduled for December 23, 2009. This case was reassigned to this hearing officer on December 16, 2009.

Prior to the date of the scheduled hearing, counsel for the District requested a continuance or, in the alternative, a second hearing date after the first of the year (January 1, 2010) due to the District’s holiday schedule and the potential unavailability of some witnesses on December 23, 2009. Counsel for the parents did not object to this request. Nevertheless, these accommodations were denied because the relevant regulations require that the hearing “shall be held within 30-calendar days” of the request for a due process hearing. 22 Pa. Code § 16.63(n)(1). This hearing officer did offer to begin the hearing on December 22, 2009 in an effort to accommodate the parties’ schedules and provide sufficient time for the presentation of evidence, but this date was not available to all parties and counsel. The hearing, which the parents requested to be open, convened as scheduled on December 23, 2009 and was completed

that same date.1 This hearing officer is satisfied that the parties had sufficient time and opportunity to present evidence relevant to their respective positions, including testimony by eight witnesses, and I find the record provides ample information on which to base my decision.

For the reasons set forth below, I conclude that the gifted program provided to Student has denied him FAPE with respect to the subject of mathematics, and that he is entitled to 30 minutes of compensatory education for each school day on which he attended or will attend school from November 25, 2008 until an appropriate GIEP is developed. I also find that the gifted program is appropriate with respect to reading and communication arts. Finally, I will order the District to reconvene the GIEP team to address the deficiencies described below.

ISSUES

1. Whether the District denied a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to Student since November 25, 2008?

2. If the District did deny FAPE to Student, whether Student is entitled to compensatory education and, if so, in what amount?

BG-Abington-ODRNo-00510-09-10-LS

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