Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: CV
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx
Date of Hearing: October 17, 2008
ODR Case # 9061-08-09 -LS
Parties to the Hearing:
Mr. Phillip Andras
Director of Special Education Williams
Shenandoah Valley School District 805 West Centre Street Shenandoah, PA 17976
Thomas Warner, Esquire Sweet, Stevens, Katz &
331 Butler Avenue P.O. Box 5069
New Britain, PA 18901
Date Record Closed: November 3, 2008
Date of Decision: November 16, 2008
Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Student (“student”) is a preschool/kindergarten age student residing in the Shenandoah Valley School District (“District”) who has been identified as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”)1. The student’s parents and the District disagree over the educational placement for the student.
Parents filed a complaint on July 9, 2008. The District challenged the parent’s complaint as insufficient pursuant to 34 C.F.R. §300.508(d). On July 22, 2008, the hearing officer previously assigned in this matter ruled that the parent’s complaint was insufficient and allowed the parents thirty days to amend their complaint. (Hearing Officer Exhibit [“HO”]-1).
On August 4, 2008, parents filed with the Office for Dispute Resolution, the administrative office in responsible for overseeing Pennsylvania’s special education due process system, a document that appeared to be a subsequent complaint. (HO-2). On August 5, 2008, the District again challenged this subsequent complaint as insufficient pursuant to 34 C.F.R. §300.508(d).
On August 27, 2008, the prior hearing officer ruled that the complaint of August 4th was sufficient. A hearing was scheduled for October 17, 2008. (HO-3).
In early October 2008, however, the prior hearing officer recognized that a scheduling conflict would necessitate a postponement of the hearing. To avoid that, upon the request of the prior hearing officer, this hearing officer volunteered to take over the case, to hold the hearing on October 17th, and to render a decision in the matter.
A one-session hearing was held on October 17, 2008. Written closing arguments were due from the parties, and the record therefore closed, on November 3, 2008. Both parties filed timely closing arguments.
This decision is being issued on November 16, 2008. For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the parents regarding the educational placement of Student .
Is the appropriate placement for the student a life skills classroom operated by the District, or a life skills classroom operated at the local intermediate unit (“IU”)?