SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER
Child’s Name: G.L.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: October 23, 2013 December 18, 2013 January 29, 2014 January 31, 2014
ODR File No. 14272-1314AS
Parties to the Hearing:
Manheim Township School District 450A Candlewyck Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
Mark W. Voigt, Esquire
Law Office of Mark W. Voigt Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus 600 West Germantown Pike #600 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
School District Attorney
Jeffrey F. Champagne, Esquire McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC 100 Pine Street, P. O. Box 1166 Harrisburg, PA 17108
Date Record Closed: March 5, 2014
Date of Decision: March 20, 2014
Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Student1 is a teen-aged student residing in the Manheim Township School District (hereafter District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).2 Student’s Parents filed a due process complaint against the District asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,3 as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.
Student attended school in the District during the 2012-13 school year, and did not return. For the 2013-14 school year, the Parents unilaterally placed Student in a private school.
The case proceeded to a due process hearing which convened over four sessions, at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The evidence focused on the programming for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. The Parent sought to establish that the District failed to provide Student with FAPE, seeking compensatory education for the 2012- 13 school year and tuition reimbursement for Student’s current private school placement for 2013-14; they also sought reimbursement for an independent evaluation. The District maintained that its special education program, as offered and implemented, was appropriate for Student.
For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the District.
- Whether the special education program provided to Student during the 2012-13 school year and the summer of 2013 was appropriate;
- If the 2012-13 program including ESY services during the summer of 2013 was not appropriate, whether Student is entitled to compensatory education and, if so, to what extent;
- Whether the special education program proposed for the 2013-14 school year was appropriate;
- If the proposed 2013-14 program was not appropriate, whether the Parents are entitled to tuition reimbursement for Student’s placement in a private school; and
- Whether the Parents are entitled to reimbursement for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)?4