Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: J.C.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
ODR No. 17373-15-16-KE
Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]
Methacton School District 1001 Kriebel Mill Road Norristown, PA 19403-1047
Mark W. Voigt, Esquire
Plymouth Meeting Executive Campus 600 West Germantown Pike, Su. 400 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Christina M. Stephanos, Esquire Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLP 331 Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18601
Dates of Hearing: April 11, 2016; April 26, 2016; May 16, 2016
Record Closed: June 17, 2016
Date of Decision: July 2, 2016
Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Esquire, CHO
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The child named in this matter (Student)1 was an eligible student of the school district named in this matter (District) from kindergarten until the end of ninth grade. Parents unilaterally enrolled Student in a private school for tenth grade. The Student is classified 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 Specific Learning Disability.
Student’s Parent[s] request due process pursuant to the IDEA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504)2 asserting that the District failed to address Student’s unique educational needs when Student was in eighth grade (2013-2014) and ninth grade (2014-2015). Parents seek reimbursement of private school3 tuition for Student’s tenth grade year (2015-2016), as well as compensatory education for the previous two years. In addition, they seek reimbursement for private tutoring that they provided Student, and for the cost of a private psychoeducational evaluation.
The District asserts that its services were appropriate during the relevant period, and that the private school unilaterally selected by Parents is inappropriate for Student. The District asserts that tuition reimbursement would be inequitable, and it seeks dismissal of all claims.
The hearing was completed in three sessions. I have determined the credibility of all witnesses and I have considered and weighed all of the evidence of record. I conclude that District services were inappropriate during most of the relevant period, and I order both tuition reimbursement and compensatory education. I decline to order the other requested services and reimbursements.
- During the relevant period of time, from February 14, 2014 to the first day of school in the 2015-2016 school year, did the District offer and provide Student with a FAPE?
- Did the District inappropriately fail to provide Student with extended school year services (ESY) during the summers of 2014 and 2015?
- Is the private placement provided by Parents for the 2015-2016 school year appropriate for Student?
- Considering the equities, should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parents for private school tuition, fees and transportation costs that they paid for the 2015-2016 school year?
- 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 reimburse Parents for the cost of private tutoring of Student, expended during the relevant period?
- Should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse Parents for the cost of a private educational evaluation that they obtained for Student?