BR vs. Southern York County 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

Student’s Name: B.R.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 13610-12-13-KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents

Southern York County School District 2900 Terwood Road
Willow Grove, PA 19090-1431

Representative:

Judith A. Gran, Esquire
Reisman, Carolla, Gran, LLP
19 Chestnut Street
Haddonfield, New Jersey 08033-1810

Karl A. Romberger, Jr. , Esquire Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLP 331 Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18901

Dates of Hearing: None; Record Stipulated
Record Closed: May 7, 2013
Date of Decision: May 22, 2013
Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

 

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Southern York County School District filed a request for due process hearing on March 5, 2013. The complaint notice states that the District:

is refusing request for an Independent Educational Evaluation at public expense. SYCSD first requested, and obtained, parental permission to conduct a re- evaluation, including psychiatric evaluation, psychological evaluation, behavior checklists, classroom observation, and educational, social, and physical records review. Parents subsequently requested an IEE at public expense and withdrew consent for the RR. Further, parents’ IEE at public expense request is not reasonably contemporaneous with a school district completed (re)evaluation and thus not premised on disagreement with a school district evaluation per 34 CFR 300.50(b)(1). SYCSD must be allowed to complete its proposed evaluation and, until then, parents’ requested IEE at public expense is premature.

I construe this language to assert that the Parents2 are not entitled to an independent educational evaluation at public expense (IEE) because the Parents requested the IEE after the District conveyed its request to re-evaluate and before the completion of the re-evaluation. However, the District goes further in its request for relief, asking for an order “that [it] be allowed to proceed with and complete its proposed reevaluation … .” Thus, the District argues that it has the right to an administrative order authorizing re-evaluation despite parental withdrawal of consent.3

Parents filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the District had no right to re-evaluate without parental agreement, because the proposed re-evaluation would occur within one calendar year of the previous re-evaluation. Parents also asserted that their disagreement with a prior re-evaluation of the Student entitles them to an IEE.

2 The Parents acted jointly, usually through the Student’s Mother, in most transactions depicted herein. References herein to “Parent” in the singular refer, for ease of reference, to Student’s Mother. In one transaction, Parents acted separately and I have indicated that by referring to them individually in the text.
3 No sufficiency challenge was filed in this matter.

At my suggestion, and in lieu of pursuing a summary judgment procedure, the parties submitted this matter on a stipulated record. The record consists of a joint exhibit book to which the parties have stipulated. The parties did not submit any other stipulations of fact, and they each proposed competing findings of fact comprising their arguments as to the inferences that I should draw from the joint exhibits. I conclude that this record is sufficient to form a basis for findings of fact and conclusions of law. Moreover, I conclude that there are no genuine issues of material fact. Thus, I enter this final administrative decision, partially granting the relief requested by the District, and partially denying such relief.

ISSUES

  1. Is the Parent entitled by law to an IEE and should the hearing officer order the District to provide an IEE at public expense?
  2. Is the District entitled by law to re-evaluate the Student and should the hearing officer enter an order authorizing the District to proceed with a re-evaluation despite the Parents’ withdrawal of consent for such re-evaluation?
B-R-Southern-York-County-ODRNo-13610-12-13-KE

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