DM vs. Western Wayne School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: DM
Date of Birth: XX-XX-XXXX

Dates of Hearing: November 6, 2009 January 21, 28, and 29, 2010

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Cases (Consolidated)

00284-09-10-KE 00441-09-10-KE

Parties to the Hearing: Mr. & Mrs.

Dr. Lorna Johns
Western Wayne School District P.O. Box 500
South Canaan, PA 18459

Representative:

Drew Christian, Esq. 801 Monroe Avenue Scranton, PA 18510

Rebecca Young, Esq. King, Spry, et. al.
One West Broad Street Suite 700

Bethlehem, PA 18018

Date Record Closed: February 22, 2010 2

Date of Decision: March 9, 2010

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

“Student” (“student”) is a 21-year old student residing in the Western Wayne 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, specifically as a child on the autism spectrum.

In December 2007, the parties settled a previous round of due process with a settlement agreement that, among other things, set forth that the District would pay for one year of private school at a post- secondary facility in [Redacted state]. The student attended this post- secondary facility in, and the District paid tuition for, the 2008-2009 school year.

Parents filed a complaint in September 2009, alleging that the District owed the parents tuition reimbursement for attendance at the same post-secondary facility for the 2009-2010 school year. The District filed a counterclaim for time where the student voluntarily did not attend the post-secondary facility in that school year.

Parents filed a second complaint in November 2009, alleging that the District owed compensatory education to the student for an alleged denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) from December 4, 2007 (the day after the settlement agreement was signed between the parties) through the end of the 2007-2008 school year.

Both complaints were consolidated into one hearing process, and this decision addresses the claims raised in parents’ complaints and the District’s counterclaim. For the reasons set forth below, I find that the District prevails on parents’ claims for compensatory education and tuition reimbursement, and that the parents prevail on the District’s claim for reimbursement for tuition paid on behalf of the student.

 

ISSUES

Does the District owe compensatory education for the period from December 4, 2007 through the end of the 2007-2008 school year?

Do the parents owe the District reimbursement for tuition related to time where the student voluntarily did not attend the post-secondary facility in the 2008-2009 school year?

Does the District owe parents tuition reimbursement for the 2009-2010 school year?

Is there the need for a pendency finding regarding the student’s current attendance at the post-secondary facility?

DM-Western-Wayne-ODRNo-Consolidated-00284-09-10-KE-00441-09-10-KE

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