CJ vs. Penn Manor School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
Child’s Name: C. J.
Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR File No. 17382-15-16 KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency Penn Manor School District 2950 Charlestown Road Lancaster, PA 17603

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Mark W. Voigt, Esquire
Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus 600 West Germantown Pike, Suite 400 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

LEA Attorney
Jeffrey F. Champagne, Esquire Elizabeth S. Daniels, Esquire McNees, Wallace, & Nurick LLC 100 Pine Street, P.O. Box 1166 Harrisburg, PA 17108

Dates of Hearing: June 1, 2016, June 9, 2016, June 16, 2016

Date Record Closed: June 21, 2016

Date of Decision: July 11, 2016

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D. Certified Hearing Official

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student (hereafter Student)1 is a mid-teenaged student who resides within the geographic boundaries of the Penn Manor School District (District). Student, who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),2 previously attended school in the District but currently attends a public charter school (Charter School) that is some distance from the family’s home. In February 2016, Student’s Parents filed a due process complaint against the District asserting that the program it offered to Student in December 2015 did not provide a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,3 as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.4

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over three sessions.5 The Parents sought to establish that the District failed to offer FAPE to Student in its program developed for the 2015-16 school year, and requested reimbursement for expenses associated with Student’s placement in the Charter School and an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). The District maintained that its special education program, as offered, was appropriate for Student, and that no remedy was due to the Parents. The record closed upon receipt of a document produced in response to this hearing officer’s request for additional evidence, namely the version of Student’s 2015-16 Charter School IEP that was current as of the end of October 2015 as referenced in the testimony.6

For the reasons set forth below, the Parents will prevail on their claim for transportation expense reimbursement, but the District will prevail on the issues of IEE reimbursement and expert witness fees.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the District’s special education program proposed for Student for the 2015-16 school year was appropriate;
  2. If the District’s proposed program was not appropriate, whether Charter School is appropriate for Student and, if so, whether equitable considerations operate to reduce or deny reimbursement for expenses incurred by the Parents for Charter School;
  3. Whether the District should be ordered to provide door to door transportation to Charter School prospectively;
  4. Whether the Parents are entitled to reimbursement for an IEE; and
  5. Whether the Parents are entitled to reimbursement for fees incurred in connection with the testimony of their expert witness at the hearing?
C-J-Penn-Manor-ODRNo-17382-15-16-KE

Leave a Reply

Pennsylvania

Montgomery Law, LLC
1420 Locust Street, Suite 420
Philadelphia, PA 19102
T/F. 215-650-7563

Rate By
SUPER LAWYERS
Joseph W Montgomery, II

New Jersey

Historic Smithville, Suite 1
1 N. New York Road
Galloway, NJ 08205
(all mail to Phila. office)
T. 856-282-5550

Disclaimer: Montgomery Law, LLC does not give legal advice until after it has entered into an attorney-client relationship. No part of this website creates an attorney-client relationship. All Parts of this website are Attorney Advertising. The photos and videos on this website contain portrayals of clients by non-clients, re-enactment of scenes, pictures and persons which are not actual or authentic and depictions which are a dramatization.