Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: C.R.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: February 25, 2016 April 28, 2016 May 3, 2016 May 11, 2016 June 28, 2016 June 29, 2016 July 18, 2016 August 4, 2016 August 5, 2016
ODR Case #17158-1516AS
Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]
Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 1605 West Main Street
Norristown, PA 19403
Tanya Alvarado, Esquire 30 Cassatt Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312
Heather Matejik, Esquire
10 Sentry Parkway – Suite 200 P.O. Box 3001
Blue Bell, PA 19422
Date of Decision: October 11, 2016
Hearing Officer: Michael J. McElligott, Esquire
The child1 is a preschool/kindergarten age child residing within the boundaries of the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (“IU”). The parties agree that the child qualifies under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”)2 for specially designed instruction/related services as a child with a health impairment. The child also has a hearing impairment, although the IU has not formally identified the child with hearing impairment under the IDEIA.
Parents claim, in their complaint, that the IU’s proposed early intervention services were inappropriate for the 2014-2015 and 2015- 2016 school years and did not offer the child a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) for those school years. As a result, parents claim, they undertook a unilateral private placement and seek tuition reimbursement remedy for that enrollment in the 2014-2015 and 2015- 2016 school years.3 Additionally, parents claim that the IU has violated its obligations to provide FAPE to the child under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”).4
The IU counters that at all times it proposed educational programming reasonably calculated to provide FAPE to the child. As such, the IU argues that the parents are not entitled to a tuition reimbursement remedy.
A significant aspect of the dispute between the parties, and (as a surmise of this hearing officer) perhaps an impediment to potential resolution, is disagreement between the parties over the amount of tuition reimbursement due to parents.
For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the parents in part and the IU in part. Given the dispute over the material amount of reimbursement due to parents, the decision and order will address with specificity the amount of the tuition reimbursement.
Is the IU’s proposed programming
for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years reasonably calculated to yield meaningful education benefit?
If not, are parents entitled to tuition reimbursement for the unilateral private placement
for the school years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016?
If so, in what amount?C-R-Montgomery-County-ODRNo-17158-1516AS