EH vs. Pittsburgh School District

Pennsylvania Special Education Hearing Officer


Child’s Name:

E. H.

Date of Birth:

[redacted]

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case #18497-1617AS

Dates of Hearing:1
February 27, 2017 – March 15, 2017 – March 28, 2017 – April 28, 2017

Parents:

Parent[s]
Kristen Weidus, Esquire – 429 Forbes Avenue – Suite 450 – Pittsburgh, PA – 15219

Counsel for Parents

School District:

Pittsburgh School District – 341 South Bellefield Avenue – Pittsburgh, PA – 15213 Annemarie Harr, Esquire – 445 Fort Pitt Boulevard – Suite 503 – Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Counsel for the School District

Date of Decision:

June 20, 2017

Hearing Officer:

Michael J. McElligott, Esquire

 

INTRODUCTION

Student (“student”)2 is a late teen-aged student who formerly resided in the Pittsburgh School District (“District”). The parties agree that the student qualifies under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”)3 for specially designed instruction/related services as a student with autism, as well as needing support in mathematics.

Parents claim that the student was denied a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) during the student’s enrollment in the District for a period from December 2014 – June 2015. Thereafter, the student was enrolled in a private out-of-state placement for the summer of 2015 and, briefly, in a private out-of-state placement at the outset of the 2015- 2016 school year and then, in October 2015, in a second out-of-state private placement for the remainder for the 2015-2016 school year, and the fall of 2016. In December 2016 the student took a diploma from the second private placement. Parents seek tuition reimbursement for these private out-of-state placements, including the summer programming. Parents also seek reimbursement for various out-of-pocket expenses related to the private placements.

The District counters that at all times its programming was designed to provide FAPE and, when implemented, did provide FAPE to the student for the period of the student’s enrollment in the District. As such, the District argues that the parents are not entitled to remedy, whether compensatory education or tuition reimbursement.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the District.

ISSUES

Did the District provide the student FAPE in the period December 2014 – June 2015?

If the answer to this question is answered in the negative, is the student entitled to compensatory education?

Are parents entitled to tuition reimbursement for the unilateral private placements undertaken in summer 2015?

Are parents entitled to tuition reimbursement for the unilateral private placement undertaken for the 2015-2016 school year,
and the fall of 2016?

Are parents entitled to reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses related to these private placements?

E-H-Pittsburgh-ODRNo-18497-1617AS

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