ES vs. Pottsville Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: E.S.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: October 22, 2009

March 25, 2010 March 26, 2010 June 7, 2010

CLOSED HEARING

ODR No. 00074-0910-AS

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Ms. Kelly Brennan
Director of Special Education Pottsville Area School District 1501 Laurel Boulevard Pottsville, PA 17901

Representative:

Jennifer M. L. Bradley, Esquire McAndrews Law Offices, P.C. 30 Cassatt Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312

Jeffrey F. Champagne, Esquire McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC 100 Pine Street
P. O. Box 1166

Harrisburg, PA 17108

Date Record Closed: June 30, 2010

Date of Decision: July 15, 2010

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is currently a teen-aged student residing within the Pottsville Area School District (hereafter District). Student’s parents filed a due process complaint July 27, 2009, claiming that the District denied Student a free, appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)2 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.3 The case was assigned to Hearing Officer Deborah G. DeLauro who conducted an initial hearing session on October 22, 2009 limited to the issue of whether the Student and parents could present evidence on claims which preceded the filing of the due process complaint by more than two years. (Notes of Testimony (N.T.) 9-10, 102) Hearing Officer DeLauro issued a ruling on December 5, 2009 which determined that the parents knew or should have known of the actions forming the basis of their complaint by December 22, 2004, and that neither of the exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations was established. (Hearing Officer Exhibit (HO) 1) Accordingly, Hearing Officer DeLauro limited the scope of the hearing to the time period between July 27, 2007 and July 27, 2009, which encompassed the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years. (N.T. 114-15; HO 1)

The case was reassigned to this hearing officer on December 18, 2009. An initial hearing session on January 19, 2010 was continued, and two hearing sessions were held on March 25 and 26, 2010. Due the unavailability of one witness for medical reasons, the final hearing session was not held until June 7, 2010.

The record closed on June 30, 2010. The parents presented evidence on their claims challenging the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to Student for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years. The District defended those claims, asserting that it did not deny FAPE to Student throughout that time period. For the following reasons, I find in favor of the parents on the eligibility issue as well as for a portion of the time period during which they request compensatory education.

ISSUES

1. Whether the Student is eligible under the IDEA and/or Section 504; and

2. If so, whether the Student is entitled to compensatory education for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years.

E-S-Pottsville-Area-ODRNo-00074-0910-AS

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