DW vs. School District of Philadelphia

PENNSYLVANIA

SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: D.W.

ODR #16267/14-15 AS

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: June 17, 2015 July 3, 2015 August 5, 2015

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

School District of Philadelphia 440 N. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19130

Representative:
Jennifer Sang, Esquire
Law Office of David J. Berney
8 Penn Center
1628 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1000 Philadelphia, PA 19103

Sarah Egoville, Esquire
Fox Rothschild LLP
10 Sentry Parkway Suite 200 Blue Bell, PA 19422

Date Record Closed: August 13, 2015

Decision Due Date: September 7, 2015

Date of Decision: August 15, 2015

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official

 

Background

Student1 is an early teen-aged child residing in the School District of Philadelphia (hereinafter District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Pennsylvania Chapter 14 under the current classifications of autism and speech/language impairment. As such, Student is also a qualified handicapped person / protected handicapped student under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. §794), the federal regulations implementing §504 (34 C.F.R. §§104.32—104.37), and Chapter 15 of the Pennsylvania Code. Student attended 7th grade in the 2014-2015 school year and has been educated in Student’s current school (hereinafter current school) since 5th grade. Student has been in a combination of supplemental learning support and general education programming.

Believing that Student requires an autistic support placement which is not available at Student’s grade level at the current school, in December 2014, half-way through 7th grade, the District sought to move Student to another school building (hereinafter proposed school) and change the program/placement to full time autistic support with some inclusion in general education. The Parents objected and asked for this hearing because they believe that the proposed program/placement is not appropriate and, furthermore, that Student should not be moved for one year and then have to transition to another school for 9th grade. Additionally, although they favor the location of the current school and wish Student to continue there in learning support rather than autistic support, they do not believe that Student’s program has offered a free appropriate public education (FAPE), nor do they believe that the proposed IEP for 2015-2016, implemented in any setting, offers FAPE. They are requesting compensatory education and that an appropriate IEP be developed for implementation in the current school.2

Having considered all the evidence provided to me I find in favor of the Parents.

Issues

  1. Is the program/placement the District offered to Student for the 2015-2016 school year appropriate?
  2. Was Student’s program appropriate during the 2014-2015 school year, and if not is compensatory education due from March 25, 20153 to the end of that school year?
  3. If compensatory education is due, in what form should it be offered and in what amount?
D-W-Philadelphia-ODRNo-16267-14-15-AS

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