Pennsylvania Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: E. Y.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
ODR File 18799 16 17
Dates of Hearing: 5/4/17, 7/6/17, 7/7/17, 8/7/17
Mark W. Voigt, Esquire, Law Office of Mark W. Voigt, Esquire, Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus, 600 West Germantown Pike, Suite 400, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Counsel for Parents
Southern York County School District, 3280 Fissels Church Road, P. O. Box 128, Glen Rock, PA 17327-0128
Karl A. Romberger, Jr., Esquire, Sweet, Stevens, Katz, Williams, 331 East Butler Avenue,
New Britain, PA 18901
Counsel for School District
Date of Decision: 9/7/17
William F. Culleton, Jr., Esq., CHO
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The child named in this matter (Student)1 is a resident of the District named in this matter (District), and is enrolled currently in a private school (School). The District has classified Student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA) as a child with the disabilities of Other Health Impairment and Speech or Language Impairment. (NT 13- 14.)
Parents assert that the District failed to offer Student a free appropriate public education (FAPE) pursuant to the IDEA; section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504); and the respective implementing regulations. Parents withdrew Student from the District unilaterally on February 17, 2017, and placed Student in the School.
Parents request an order that the District provide three remedies. They ask for compensatory education for the period during which they allege a failure to provide a FAPE, encompassing part of Student’s first-grade (2014-2015) school year, starting February 21, 2015; all of Student’s second grade (2015-2016) school year; and part of Student’s third grade (2016- 2017) school year, until they withdrew Student from the District on February 17, 20172. They request that the District reimburse Parents for the tuition and costs of Student’s private school placement for about half of the last school year and the coming school year. They also seek reimbursement of the cost of a private educational evaluation that they obtained, as well as the private evaluator’s fees for appearance in these proceedings.3 The District asserts that it has offered and provided a FAPE at all relevant times, and it seeks dismissal of all claims.
The hearing was completed in four sessions. I have determined the credibility of all witnesses and I have considered and weighed all of the evidence of record. I conclude that the District has offered and provided a FAPE to Student at all relevant times, and I therefore dismiss Parents’ claims.
- Did the District offer and provide a FAPE to Student during the relevant period from February 21, 2015 to February 17, 2017, in compliance with the IDEA and section 504?
- Should the hearing officer order the District to provide Student with compensatory education on account of all or any part of the relevant period?
- Should the hearing officer order the District to provide Student with compensatory education on account of its refusal to provide Student with ESY services during the summers of 2015 and 2016?
- Is the School an appropriate placement for Student?
- Considering the equities, should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parents for tuition and fees that they incurred for Student’s attendance at the School from February 21, 2017 to the end of Student’s third grade school year, for Student’s fourth grade (2017- 2018) school year, and for summer programs at the School in the summers of 2015 and 2016?
- Should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parents for the fees of a private evaluator, including fees for the evaluation and for appearing to testify in the present matter?