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
Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: C. V.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
ODR File No. 15477-14-15AS
Dates of Hearing: 3/31/15, 5/12/15
Parties to the Hearing:
Local Education Agency City Charter High School 201 Stanwix Street Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Jeffrey J. Ruder, Esq. Michelle Kline, Esq.
429 Forbes Avenue, Suite 450 Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Teresa O. Sirianni, Esq.
Gregory P. Graham, Esq.
Marshall, Dennehay, Warner, Coleman, & Goggin
600 Grant Street, Suite 2900 Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Date Record Closed: May 29, 2015
Date of Decision: June 10, 2015
Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, Esq.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The student (hereafter Student)1 is a middle-teenaged student who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).2 Student’s Parents filed a due process complaint against the City Charter High School (hereafter School) asserting that it denied Student 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. They also claimed that the School discriminated against Student on the basis of Student’s disability.
The School’s Motion to Dismiss on the basis that it was not the Local Education Agency (LEA) for Student was denied on November 30, 2014, and the case proceeded to a due process hearing that was bifurcated by agreement of the parties and the hearing officer. The parties agreed that this case presents a novel issue. At the initial hearing session, the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions on the questions of whether the School was under any obligation to Student under the IDEA or Section 504, and whether it violated either of those statutes, in what we referred to loosely as the liability phase. On May 4, 2015, following receipt of the transcript of the first hearing session, the parties’ closing arguments, and the parties’ responses to the closing arguments of the other party, this hearing officer issued an Interim Ruling in favor of the Parents on the issues of the School’s violation of the IDEA and Section 504 in failing to offer a special education program to Student for the 2014-15 school year. The Interim Ruling is attached to this decision as an Appendix.
The case proceeded to a second hearing session where the parties presented evidence on the remedy to be awarded, if any. Following review of the entire record, and for the reasons set forth below that incorporate the findings and conclusions of the Interim Ruling, I find in favor of the Parents in part.
- Whether the School had any obligation to Student under the IDEA and/or Section 504;
- Whether the School violated the IDEA and/or Section 504, procedurally or substantively, with respect to Student;
- If the School did violate IDEA and/or Section 504, are the Parents and Student entitled to tuition reimbursement and, if so, for what time periods?4