BL vs. Owen J. Roberts School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: B. L.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 3/22/2017

Closed HEARING

ODR File No. 18734-16-17

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency

Owen J. Roberts School District Warwick Administration Building Elverson, PA 19465

Representative:

Parent Attorney Pro Se

LEA Attorney

Sharon Montanye Esq.
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams PO Box 5069,
331 Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18901 215-345-9111

Date of Decision: April 20, 2017

Hearing Officer: Charles W. Jelley Esq. LL.M.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Student1 is an eligible child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). The Student is identified as a child with an Intellectual Disability, 34 C.F.R. §§300.8(c)(6), and Autism, 34 C.F.R. §§300.8(c)(1) (SD#7). The Student lives within the Respondent District and is of school age. (SD#7) The current dispute arose in December 2016, when the District emailed the Parents about the state-mandated two-year reevaluation.2 22 Pa Code Chapter 14.12(c)

The Parents requested this due process hearing, citing several concerns. First, the Parents contend the District must obtain informed consent before initiating a review of the existing data and the subsequent preparation of the the Reevaluation Report (RR) when no new tests are administered (P#1). Second, the Parents contend the District must hold a formal face-face-meeting, including the Parents, to determine if additional data is needed to determine if the Student is IDEA eligible or in need of specially-designed instruction (P#1). Third, the Parents contend the District erred when it failed to administer new testing or assessments to determine the Student’s IDEA eligibility and need for specially-designed instruction (P#1). 3 The Parents contend the above errors now require the RR to be stricken. The Parents now seek another review of the data and a new RR (P#1).

The Parents’ contentions arise out of their understanding of the Comments to the 1999 IDEA regulations, more specifically the then 34 CFR §300.533 regulations, which are now 34 CFR §300.305 regulations (P#13 p.2; HO#1).

Several hours after the hearing record closed, the Parents acknowledged, in an email, that the 2006 IDEA regulations, not the 1999 regulations, control the outcome here (HO #1).4

The 2006 IDEA regulations dramatically changed the informed consent, the evaluation, the reevaluation, and the review of existing data requirements at issue here.5

The District asserts that it complied with all applicable laws and regulations.

The hearing was completed in one session.6

I have determined the credibility and reliability of all witnesses, and I have thoughtfully and carefully considered and weighed all of the evidence of record and considered the unsolicited post-hearing email arguments. After reviewing the applicable 2006 IDEA regulations, the answer, today, to each of the Parents’ contentions is ‘no’. See, Letter to Anonymous, 48 IDELR 136 (OSEP 2007).7

ISSUES

Do the applicable regulations require the District to obtain the Parents’ informed consent before reviewing the Student’s existing data?

Did the District fail to include the Parents or fail to seek Parental input when the District reviewed the existing data and/or prepared the 2017 Reevaluation Report?

Can the District prepare a Reevaluation Report without conducting additional assessments or testing, if the Individualized Education Program team decides additional data is not needed?

B-L-Owen-J-Roberts-ODRNo-18734-16-17

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