CA vs. Upper Merion Area 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: C.A.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:
September 30, 2009
November 23, 2009
March 17, 2010
May 27, CLOSED HEARING

ODR No. 10136-0809-AS

Parties to the Hearing:

Parent[s]

Ms. Kathryn Ashbridge
Assistant Superintendent for Student Services
Upper Merion Area School District 435 Crossfield Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Representative:

Dean M. Beer, Esquire McAndrews Law Offices 30 Cassat Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312

Timothy E. Gilsbach, Esquire Fox Rothschild LLP
Ten Sentry Parkway, Suite 200 P. O. Box 3001

Blue Bell, PA 19422-3001

Date Record Closed: June 28, 2010

Date of Decision: July 12, 2010

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is a teen-aged student who resides in the Upper Merion Area School District (hereafter District). Student’s parents filed a complaint on June 8, 2009, claiming that the District denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act(IDEA)2 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.3 The case was assigned to Hearing Officer Deborah G. DeLauro who conducted hearing sessions on September 30, 2009 and November 23, 2009 limited to the issue of whether the Student was eligible under the IDEA and/or Section 504. (Notes of Testimony (N.T.) 9, 77)

The case was reassigned to this hearing officer on December 18, 2009. After counsel for both parties submitted written closing statements on the issue of eligibility, this hearing officer ruled on January 12,2010 that Student was eligible under Section 504, but not under the IDEA. The matter proceeded to a third hearing session on March 17, 2010 at which time the parties first presented evidence related to whether the statute of limitations would operate to bar the parents’ claims which pre-dated the due process complaint by more than two years. This hearing officer ruled on the record that the statute of limitations was applicable and that neither of the enumerated exceptions were established. (N.T. 297-99) In accordance with that ruling, the parents presented evidence on their claims challenging the provision of FAPE to Student for the very end of The case was assigned to Hearing Officer Deborah G. District defended those claims, asserting that it did not deny FAPE to Student throughout the 2006-07 school year, the 2007-08 school year, and the 2009-10 school year. The For the following reasons, I find in favor of the District on the claims for an independent educational evaluation and for that time period. The record closed on June 28, 2010. compensatory education, and in favor of the parents on the tuition reimbursement claim.

ISSUES

1. Whether the parents are entitled to reimbursement for an independent educational evaluation;

2. Whether the District denied FAPE to Student from the time period from June 7, 2007 to the end of the 2007-08 school year and, if so, whether Student is entitled to compensatory education; and

3. Whether the District denied FAPE to Student for the 2009-10 school year and, if so, whether the parents are entitled to reimbursement for the private school tuition paid for that school year.

 

C-A-Upper-Merion-Area-ODRNo-10136-0809-AS

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