BL vs. Pennridge 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

ODR No. 2098-1112 AS

Child’s Name: B.L.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: 9/6/11

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District Pennridge
1200 N. 5th Street Perkasie, PA 18944-2207

Representative:

Parent Attorney None

School District Attorney
Thomas Warner, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLP 331 E. Butler Avenue
Doylestown, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: September 19, 2011

Date of Decision: September 26, 2011

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

 

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Although Student’s family resides within the School District boundaries, Student never attended school in the District, having been enrolled in a private kindergarten, a parochial elementary school and currently in a private school for children with learning differences at all times when Parents could have enrolled Student in public school.

When Student’s difficulties with reading were noted early in 1st grade, a psycho- educational evaluation was arranged by that school through the local Intermediate Unit (IU), and Parents contacted the District for services after receiving the school psychologist’s determination of Student’s learning disabilities in reading and writing. The District conducted its own evaluation, confirmed that Student is IDEA eligible in the category of specific learning disability and speech/language impairment, and offered an IEP that included 2 hours/day of pull-out special education services in language arts (reading and writing)s well as speech/language therapy as a related service. Convinced that Student needs Wilson reading instruction, which the District does not offer, Parents enrolled Student in a private school and filed a due process complaint seeking tuition reimbursement.

During the one day hearing session in early September 2011, Parents presented the results of their independent internet research into various reading programs, and stated their understandable concern that Student should continue to receive reading instruction using a method that has worked. Nevertheless, Parents did not establish that the District’s proposed reading instruction is inappropriate for Student, and, therefore, their claim for tuition reimbursement must be denied.

 

ISSUES

  1. Has the School District offered a program and placement for Student that can effectively address Student’s needs for special education in the areas of reading and writing and that is reasonably calculated to result in a meaningful educational benefit?
  2. If not, should the School District be required to fund Student’s tuition at the private school unilaterally selected by Parents?
B-L-Pennridge-ODRNo-2098-1112-AS

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