CO vs. School District of Philadelphia

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.

Special Education Hearing Officer


Student’s Name: C. O.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 13639-12-13-AS


Parties to the Hearing:


School District of Philadelphia 440 North Broad Street, Su. 313 Philadelphia, PA 1913


Jennifer Y. Sang, Esquire
Law Offices of David J.Berney 1628 JFK Boulevard, Su. 1000 Philadelphia, PA 19103

Tammy J. Flail, Esquire
Levin Legal Group, P.C.
1301 Mason’s Mill Business Park 1800 Byberry Road
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Dates of Hearing: May 24, 2013, July31, 2013, August 9, 2013
Record Closed: September 4, 2013
Date of Decision: September 22, 2013
Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esq.,CHO



The Student named in the title page of this decision (Student) is an eligible resident of the school district named in the title page of this decision (District). (NT 8.) The District has identified Student with Specific Learning Disability and Speech or Language Impairment. (NT 7.) Parents seek tuition reimbursement, having placed Student in a private school (School) unilaterally. (NT 42.) In addition, Parents request compensatory education from September 21, 2012 through October 31, 2012. Parents assert that the District has failed to offer or provide to the Student a free appropriate public education (FAPE), as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA), and the Vocational Rehabilitation1 Act of 1973, 29 U. S. C. §794 et seq.

The District raises three defenses: first, that the District offered appropriate services; second, that the placement chosen by the Parents was inappropriate; and third, that tuition reimbursement should be barred on equitable grounds because the Parents did not give the District sufficient time to make an appropriate offer of services.

The hearing was concluded in three sessions. The parties submitted written summations, and the record closed upon receipt of those summations.


  1. During the period from September 21, 2012 to October 31, 2012, did the District fail to offer to, or provide Student with, a FAPE, in violation of the IDEA, section 504 and the ADA?
  2. Was the private placement selected by Parents appropriate?
  3. Should the hearing officer, exercising statutory and equitable authority, order the District to reimburse Parents for private school tuition for the 2012-2013 school year?
  4. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide compensatory education to Student for all or any part of the period from September 21, 2012 to October 31, 2012, in addition to tuition reimbursement?
  5. If tuition reimbursement is denied, should the hearing officer order the District to provide compensatory education to Student for all or any part of the period from November 1, 2012 to the end of the 2012-2013 school year?



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