EC vs. Montour School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: E.C.

ODR #16000/14-15 KE

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: May 18, 2015

OPEN HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Montour School District 225 Clever Road
McKees Rocks, PA 15136

Representative:
Jeffrey Ruder, Esquire Michelle Kline, Esquire
429 Forbes Avenue Suite 450 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Aimee Zundel, Esquire Weiss Burkardt Kramer
445 Fort Pitt Blvd. Suite 503 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Decision Due Date: June 2, 2015

Date of Decision: May 24, 2015

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

 

Background

Student1 is currently in 2nd grade and is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] and Pennsylvania Chapter 14 under the classifications of Autism and Speech/Language Impairment. Student is also an individual with a disability as defined under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. The Parents filed this complaint with regard to the Extended School Year [ESY] program that the District proposed for summer 2015, alleging that the proposed ESY program denies Student a free, appropriate public education [FAPE] because it violates the requirement that children with special needs be educated in the least restrictive environment [LRE] appropriate for them and because the District committed a procedural violation, predetermination of Student’s placement, that denied the Parents meaningful participation in their child’s educational planning. The Parents want Student to attend the inclusive summer program for children with autism and related disorders [hereinafter inclusive summer program] at which the IEP team placed Student for the past two summers.

Because this matter concerns a dispute over Student’s ESY services the hearing was initially scheduled under the expedited timeline for ESY hearings, which mandates a period of 30 calendar days from the date of the filing of the Complaint to the issuing of the Decision. The Parents, unopposed by the District, requested a postponement of the original March 23, 2015 hearing date because they were in the process of retaining counsel; they were given the option of “un-expediting” the case which they chose to do. Counsel for the Parents asked permission to file an amended complaint and permission was granted.

Despite this no longer being an expedited matter, the hearing itself was conducted under the protocol for expedited hearings and this decision is being issued as quickly as possible given the need to establish Student’s summer programming.

Issues

  1. Is the ESY program the District offered to Student for summer 2015 appropriate?
  2. Is the inclusive summer program proposed by the Parents appropriate?
E-C-Montour-ODRNo-16000-14-15-KE

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