GS vs. Greensburg Salem School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: G.S.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:

September 30, 2013 October 24, 2013 December 10, 2013

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case #14031-1213KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Greensburg Salem School District 1 Academy Hill Place
Greensburg, PA 15601

Representative: Pro Se

Patricia Andrews, Esquire 1500 Ardmore Boulevard Suite 506
Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Date Record Closed: December 10, 2013

Date of Decision: January 3, 2014

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is an early teen-aged student residing in the Greensburg Salem School District (“District”). The parties agree, at this time, that the student qualifies under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEA”)2, although there is a dispute as to the nature of the student’s identification status and, consequently, the parties disagree over the type and intensity of the special education services which the student should receive.

The District believes the student should be identified as a student with an intellectual disability,3 with functional life skills instruction in reading and mathematics (in addition to other supports and services) being the appropriate educational programming to provide the student with a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”). Parents believe the student has been appropriately identified as a student with a health impairment and should continue to receive learning support services in reading and mathematics.

The parents’ complaint was filed in June 2013.4 By that time, the parties had been involved in a long-standing dispute that led to an agreement in July 2012 related to parents’ potential claims. The parties agreed to await the results of an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”), with the period from July 2012 through the issuance of a revised individualized education plan (“IEP”) to be excluded from any potential compensatory education award. Ultimately, a revised IEP was proposed in March 2013. Parents rejected the March 2013 IEP, which led to the June 2013 complaint.

Parents’ claims in the June 2013 complaint fell into two categories. The student’s current 2013-2014 placement was at issue due to the parents’ rejection of the March 2013 IEP. Also at issue were parents’ retrospective claims of an alleged denial of FAPE prior to July 2012. In September 2013, at a prehearing conference with counsel before the initial hearing session, the hearing officer bifurcated the complaint. The student’s current, time-sensitive 2013-2014 placement would be handled first, at this file number, so that the parties could gain clarity on the student’s current educational needs. A second file number was established for adjudication, in a subsequent hearing process, of the retrospective denial-of-FAPE claims.5

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

ISSUES

Is the March 2013 IEP reasonably calculated to yield meaningful education benefit?

If not, is the student entitled to remedy?

G-S-Greensburg-Salem-ODRNo-14031-1213KE

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