SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER
DUE PROCESS HEARING
Name of Child: D.U.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: October 28, 2011 December 5, 2011 January 3, 2012
Parties to the Hearing: Parents
Pennsbury School District 134 Yardley Avenue
P.O. Box 338
Fallsington, PA 19058
Charles Weiner, Esquire P.O. Box 212 Newtown, PA 18940
Claudia Huot, Esquire
Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone, Craig,
Garrity and Potash
484 Norristown Road Suite 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422
Date Record Closed: January 23, 2012
Date of Decision: February 5, 2012
Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official
Student1 is a pre-teen aged child who resides in the District and currently attends a private school [“private school”] for children with learning disabilities. Other than the kindergarten year, Student has never attended public school although the Parents on three occasions sought and received an evaluation from the District. In both February 2007 and May 2008 the District conducted an evaluation and found Student eligible for special education as a child with a specific learning disability, and offered programs which the Parents declined, opting to continue to educate Student at their own expense. However, on a third evaluation in May 2010 [“May 2010 evaluation”], the District found Student no longer eligible for special education and did not offer a program. The Parents chose to continue Student’s private placement, and in May 2011 obtained an Independent Educational Evaluation [“IEE”] which found Student eligible. The Parents filed for this hearing, contesting the appropriateness and/or the conclusions of the District’s May 2010 evaluation, and asking for reimbursement for the IEE as well as for the private school tuition and related costs for the 2010-2011 school year.
For the reasons presented below I find for the District.
- Was the evaluation conducted by the District in May 2010 inappropriate?
- Even if the evaluation was appropriate, did the District’s multidisciplinary team reach an incorrect conclusion regarding Student’s eligibility for special education or for a 504 Service Plan?
- If the evaluation conducted by the District was inappropriate and/or if the District’s multidisciplinary team reached an incorrect conclusion, are the Parents entitled to reimbursement for the Independent Educational Evaluation they obtained in May 2011?
- Did the District deny Student FAPE by failing to identify Student as eligible for special education and offer an IEP for the 2010-2011 school year, or as a Protected Handicapped Student and offer a 504 Service Plan?
- If the District denied Student FAPE, was the unilateral placement selected by the Parents appropriate?
- Are there equitable considerations that alter the position of either party in this matter?