Special Education Hearing Officer
Due Process Hearing for JG
Date of Birth: x/xx/xx
ODR File No.: 7820/06-07 KE
Dates of Hearing: July 30, 2007 August 13, 2007 September 12, 2007 September 19, 2007
Parties to the Hearing:
Mr. and Mrs.
Director of Special Education Abington School District
970 Highland Avenue Abington, PA 19001-4535
John R. Wiese, Esquire 1604 Tuckerstown Road Dresher, PA 19025
Ms. Claudia Huot, Esquire Wisler Pearlstine, LLP 484 Norristown Road Suite 100
Blue Bell, PA 19422
Dates Transcripts Received: August 10 and 22, 2007 September 19 and 25, 2007
Record Closed: October 1, 2007
Date of Decision: October 15, 2007
Hearing Officer: Rosemary E. Mullaly
I. Background and Procedural History
The Student is a xx-year-old resident of the Abington School District (“District”) who attended District schools from kindergarten through fourth grade. From the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year – his fifth grade year – to the present the Student attended a private school – the tuition for which the District reimbursed the Parents according to the terms of a settlement agreement. In May 2007, the District proposed an IEP for the 2007-2008 school year that the Parents rejected on June 1, 2007, but they did not request a hearing. On June 15, 2007, the District requested the instant hearing to obtain an order that it offered a free appropriate public education to the Student. The Parents request relief in the form of a declaratory order that the private school should be the Student’s pendent placement because the District’s proposed program and placement were not appropriate.
A. Procedural History
On June 1, 2007, the Parents rejected the NOREP (S-19).On June 15, 2007, the District initiated a due process hearing to defend its IEP and placement proposal. On the “Due Process Complaint Notice” form, the District provided the following as the nature of the problem:
The student attended a private school for the 2006-2007 school year. The District reimbursed the parent for tuition pursuant to a settlement agreement. The parent asked the District for a placement for the 2007-2008 school year. The District reevaluated the student and offered an appropriate placement in learning support in the least restrictive environment, in a District school. The parents rejected the placement and requested tuition reimbursement at the private school. (S-22).
The Parents did not file a sufficiency challenge to the District’s complaint notice. The Parents filed the following response to the District’s complaint notice on June 25, 2007:
The IEP proposed by the District is not appropriate; we believe our son should remain in his current program and placement where he has made meaningful progress.
Because the District is currently funding the Student’s placement at the private school for the first semester of the 2007-2008 school year according to a pendency provision contained in the Settlement Agreement, the Parents are not seeking tuition reimbursement at this time; instead that seek an order modifying the Settlement Agreement to extend the timeframe for which the private school is the Student’s pendent placement.
III. Issues Presented
- Which Party Bears the Burden of Persuasion in This Matter?
- What Is the Student’s “Then-Current Educational Placement”?
- Did the District Offer the Student a Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment for the 2007-2008 School Year?