ED vs. Colonial School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: ED
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx
Dates of Hearing: 5/1/09, 6/3/09, 6/29/09,

6/30/09, 7/1/09, 7/13/09

CLOSED HEARING

ODR No. 9777/08-09 AS

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Mr. & Mrs.

School District
Colonial
230 Flourtown Road
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1252

Representative:

Parent Attorney:
Catherine Reisman, Esq. Reisman Carolla LLP
19 Chestnut Street Haddonfield NJ 08033-1810

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

Date Record Closed: August 14, 2009

Date of Decision: August 29, 2009

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student enrolled in the Colonial School District as a kindergarten student in the 2006/2007 school year. At the request of Student’s teacher, the District’s Student Support Team began discussing Student’s immaturity and slow progress in November 2007. When concerns about Student’s academic progress were not resolved through that process, Student was evaluated for a speech/language impairment in January 2007 and found to be IDEA eligible. Soon after Student’s initial IEP was implemented, the SST team recommended a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation, resulting in a first grade IEP that provided for additional special education services, including part-time learning support and social skills training. Student was reevaluated by the District during the summer of 2008, and Student’s Parents also obtained two independent psycho-educational evaluations in that period, resulting in recommendations for additional goals and services in second grade.

When the parties were unable to reach an agreement on an IEP for the 2008/2009 school year by mid-August 2008, Student’s Parents withdrew Student from the District and enrolled Student in a private school. In March 2009, Parents filed a due process complaint to seek tuition reimbursement, compensatory education for the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 school years and for the District’s alleged failure to provide appropriate ESY services to Student in 2008.

The due process hearing was held over six sessions between May 1 and July 13, 2009. For the reasons explained below, Parents’ claims for tuition reimbursement and compensatory education are denied.

ISSUES

  1. Did the Colonial School District violate its child find obligations by failing to evaluate Student prior to January 2007 to determine that Student is IDEA eligible and provide special education services to Student prior to March 2007 and/or by concluding that Student does not have a specific learning disability?
  2. Is Student entitled to an award of compensatory education for Colonial School District’s failure to provide Student with FAPE at any time during the 2006/2007 and/or 2007/2008 school years, and/or the summer of 2008, and if so, for what period(s), in what amount and in what form?
  3. Are Studen ’s Parents entitled to reimbursement for the private school tuition they paid for the 2008/2009 school year?
ED-Colonial-ODRNo-9777-08-09-AS

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