BW vs. Pennsylvania Department of Education

Special Education Hearing Officer


Child’s Name: B.W.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: Decided on Motion to Dismiss


ODR File No. 17632-15-16

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency
Pennsylvania Department of Education 333 Market Street, 9th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17101


Parent Attorney
Vanita Kalra Esq.
8 Penn Center
1628 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1000 Philadelphia, PA 19103 215-564-1030

LEA Attorney
Atty. M. Patricia Fullerton Esq. Office of General Counsel, Commonwealth of PA
333 Market Street, 9th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17101 717-787-5500

Date Record Closed: June 20, 2016

Date of Decision: July 2, 2016

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

Applicable Legal Principles

Types of Charter Schools

In Pennsylvania, schools that operate under a charter are divided into three general categories—charter schools, regional charter schools, and cyber charter schools. Charter schools are independent public schools established and operated under a charter from the local school board. Charter schools are commonly referred to as “bricks-and-mortar” charter schools. A cyber charter school is an independent public school established and operated under a charter from PDE. Cyber charter schools use electronic media to educate children without the daily requirement that students regularly attend a physical “bricks-and-mortar” school. To comply with the IDEA, charter schools and cyber charter schools must be organized as a public, nonprofit corporation.5 A charter may not be granted to a for-profit entity. 12/Charter%20Schools/Page

Charter School Responsibilities

Charter schools and cyber charter schools must comply with Pennsylvania and federal regular education, special education, federal civil rights and disability laws. Chapter 711 et. seq. of the Pennsylvania School Code, “Charter School and Cyber Charter School Services and Program for Children with Disabilities,” contains regulations specific to individuals with disabilities being educated in charter schools and cyber charter schools. Chapter 711 incorporates by reference all of the IDEA regulations and the applicable

4 Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania Local Bankruptcy Rules 7003 and 7005.

Due Process Hearings

In Pennsylvania, special education due process hearings are heard against the LEA through the ODR, as authorized by the 22 Pa Code §14.162(p). Hearings conducted by ODR meet the IDEA standards of impartiality regardless of the agency status. 20 U.S.C. §§1415(f); 34 C.F.R. §§300.511-300.515; 22 Pa Code §14.162.


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