DS vs. wilson school district

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 00185-0910AS; 00287-0910AS1

Child’s Name: DS
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xxxx
Dates of Hearing: 12/18/09,2/17/10,3/22/10

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District
Wilson
2601 Grandview Boulevard West Lawn, PA 19609-1324

Representative:

Parent Attorney:
Phillip Drumheiser, Esq P.O. Box 890
Carlisle, PA 17013

School District Attorney
Thomas Warner, Esq.
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 Butler Avenue, P.O. Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901-0934

Date Record Closed: April 5, 2010

Date of Decision: April 20, 2010

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student, age 6, is completing his kindergarten year at the same private school he attended for preschool early intervention services. Responsibility for Student’s program and placement transferred from the Berks County Intermediate Unit EI program to his school district of residence, Wilson, at start of the 2009/2010 school year, since Parents had elected to have Student remain in early intervention for the 2008/2009 transitional school year.

Parents contend that the only appropriate setting in which the District should provide all special education and related services to Student is a regular kindergarten class, with typical peers. Parents further contend that the District improperly instructs all students with autistic spectrum disorders, such as Student, with the Verbal Behavior Program. Since Parents and the District could not resolve their program and placement differences prior to the beginning of the 2009/2010 school year, Parents filed a due process complaint in August 2009. Parents subsequently amended that complaint to request an independent educational evaluation (IEE).

In September 2009, contending that the District was still not prepared to meet Student’s needs appropriately, Parents filed a second complaint seeking tuition reimbursement for the private kindergarten he is presently attending. The hearing was delayed due to a change of hearing officer in October 2009 and the parties’ continuing efforts to resolve their dispute. The hearing was ultimately held over three sessions from December 18, 2009 through March 22, 2010. For the reasons that follow, Parents’ claims for tuition reimbursement for the 2009/2010 school year, for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense and for related services to be provided at the private school are denied.

ISSUES

  1. Did the District offer Studentan appropriate special education program and placement for the 2009/2010 school year?
  2. If not, have Student’s Parents established that the unilateral private school placement they selected is appropriate for Student and that there is no equitable basis for reducing or denying tuition reimbursement?
  3. Is the District required to provide an IEE for Student and/or related services at the private school he is attending?
DS-Wilson-area-ODRNo-00185-0910AS-00287-0910AS1

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