DP vs. Downingtown Area School District

DP 7349/06-07

Name

Xx/xx/xx

Date of Birth

4/16/07; 4/23/07; 5/07/07

Dates of Hearing

Open Type of Hearing

Parties to the Hearing:

Mr. & Mrs. Parents’ Names

Address

Downingtown Area School District

126 Wallace Avenue Downingtown, PA 19335

School District Address

Dr. Levi Wingard
School District Superintendent

Andrew E. Faust, Esq.
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 Butler Avenue P.O.Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901
School District Counsel & Address

Frederick Stanczak, Esq. 179 North Broad Street Doylestown, PA 18901 Parent Advocate & Address

05/15/07
Date Transcript Received

06/02/07

Date of Decision

Anne L. Carroll, Esq. Hearing Officer Name

Signature of Hearing Officer

 

I. BACKGROUND

Student is a xx year old third grade student, currently enrolled in the private [redacted] School at his Parents’ expense, after attending [redacted] Elementary in the District from kindergarten through the early part of this school year.

Student began receiving help for verbal learning difficulties during kindergarten and was first evaluated for IDEA eligibility in December, 2004 as a first grader. Although the discrepancy between Student’s cognitive ability and achievement scores in verbal skills resulted in a finding of specific learning disability, the District also concluded that Student’s needs could be accommodated via the small group reading assistance he was receiving within the regular education classroom, along with the tutoring his Parents were providing. The District determined, therefore, that Student was not eligible for special education. Despite the District’s consistent reports of his steady progress, however, by the beginning of third grade Student’s academic achievement had fallen significantly behind his peers in math, written expression and reading, as disclosed by the results of an IEE and a second School District evaluation, both completed in September 2006.

After the second evaluation, the School District concluded that Student was IDEA eligible and prepared a proposed IEP and NOREP for resource room learning support in both language arts and math. Due to Student’s anxiety and reluctance to attend school, as well as incidents of crying during the school day, his Parents withdrew Student from the School District and enrolled him at [Private School] prior to a first IEP meeting.

When the District refused tuition reimbursement, the Parents requested a due process hearing to seek payment by the District as well as compensatory education for the District’s decision not to provide special education to Student after his first evaluation. The School District contends that its initial ineligibility decision was correct, that it was prepared to provide Student with an appropriate IEP at the time he left the School District, and that, in any event, his Parents’ tuition reimbursement claim must be denied due to their failure to provide the District with written notice of their intention to seek an alternative placement within the time provided in the IDEA statute.

III. ISSUES

  1. Did the Downingtown Area School District appropriately conclude that Student was not eligible for special education services after conducting an initial educational evaluation in December, 2004?
  1. Is Student entitled to an award of compensatory education for any period between December 2004 and October 2006, when his Parents enrolled him at Private School, and if so, for what period, how much and in what form?
  2. Are Student’s Parents entitled to reimbursement from the Downingtown Area School District for Student’s tuition at Private School?
DP-Downingtown-Area-ODRNo-7349-06-07

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