ES vs. School District Council Rock

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

ODR No. 3102-1112 KE

Child’s Name: E.S.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 8/2/12, 8/3/12, 8/13/12, 8/21/12

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parents

School District
Council Rock
The Chancellor Center
30 North Chancellor Street Newtown, PA 18949

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Mark Voigt, Esquire
Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus 600 W. Germantown Pike, suite 400 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

School District Attorney Grace Deon, Esquire Eastburn and Gray
60 East Court Street Doylestown, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: September 17, 2012

Date of Decision: October 3, 2012

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student, a District resident is currently in 3rd grade in a District elementary school, has been enrolled since kindergarten. After three District evaluations within a year, and an independent evaluation obtained by Parents, the District declined to identify Student as mentally gifted, or as a child with a disability, except in the area of speech articulation.

Although the District conceded a statistically significant discrepancy between Student’s ability and scores on standardized achievement tests in reading [and] written expression, it concluded that Student’s grade level performance in all academic skill areas, without even regular education classroom interventions, establishes that Student has no need for specially designed instruction. The District denied IDEA eligibility for special education and also found no need for gifted education, concluding that Students’ educational needs can be appropriately met in the regular education setting.

Convinced that Student is “twice exceptional,” i.e. both mentally gifted and a child with a disability, Parents initiated a due process complaint to obtain special education and gifted education services for Student, compensatory education for denial of services during 1st and 2nd grades, [and] during the summers following the school years.

Because the record compiled over four hearing sessions in August 2012 does not support Parents’ claims for eligibility in any additional disability category, claims for current services, for past denial of services, or for reimbursement of private evaluation fees, Parents claims will be denied. Nevertheless, the District would be well-advised to monitor Student’s classroom performance closely, particularly in reading and written expression, and intervene should Student’s weaknesses, as identified on standardized tests, begin to interfere with academic skill acquisition and educational performance.

ISSUES

  1. Is Student eligible for special education under the IDEA statute or §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in the categories of specific learning disability and/or other health impairment due to the effects of ADHD and/or due to an auditory processing disorder, requiring specially designed instruction in order to make progress in grade level curriculum and academic skills?
  2. If so, when should the District have reasonably identified Student and first provided special education services?
  3. Is Student eligible for gifted education services under Chapter 16 of Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code?
  4. Is Student entitled to compensatory education for the District’s failure to provide appropriate services in the past, including ESY services and if so, in what amount, for what period and in what form?
  5. Are Parents entitled to reimbursement of the costs of two independent evaluations of Student that they obtained and for the expert testimony of the evaluators at the due process hearing?
E-S-Council-Rock-ODRNo-3102-1112-KE

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