JG vs. Delaware County Intermediate Unit

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: J.G.

ODR 18403 / 16-17 KE

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: January 23, 2017 February 13, 2017

OPEN HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Delaware County Intermediate Unit 200 Yale Avenue
Morton, PA 19070

Representative: Pro Se

Gabrielle Sereni, Esquire Raffaele & Puppio
19 W. Third Street Media, PA 19063

Date of Decision: March 2, 2017

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official

Background

The Child1 is a preschool-aged child residing within the boundaries of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (IU) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Pennsylvania Chapter 14 under the classification of Autism. As such, the Child is also an individual with a disability as defined under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. The Parents2 requested this hearing because although they agree with the IU’s Transition Evaluation and with the Goals on the July 2016 Individualized Education Plan (IEP) they believe that the program and placement the IU offered (IU Classroom) for the Child is inappropriate, and that in order to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) the Child requires continued placement in their unilaterally selected private program (Private Program) for children with speech/language deficits. The Parents3, are seeking an order that the IU reimburse the tuition they have paid for the Child’s Private Program including summer classes from the date the Child turned three years old, and that the IU fund the Private Program including summer classes going forward. They also ask that the IU supplement the Private Program by providing individual ABA therapy and the services of a BCBA consultant.

The Parents additionally seek compensatory education services for the hours the Child did not receive pendent services while the IU was on August hiatus. The IU maintains that its offer of an autistic support classroom is appropriate. The IU further argued that pendent services over the August break were not necessary to ensure FAPE because regression/recoupment data taken in earlier breaks did not support a need for uninterrupted services.

Based upon the preponderance of the evidence before me I find in favor of the Intermediate Unit on the issue of the Child’s program/placement and in favor of the Parents on the issue of denial of services during the August 2016 IU hiatus.

Issues

  1. Is the program/placement the IU offered the Child appropriate?
  2. If the IU’s program/placement is not appropriate, is the program unilaterally chosen by the Parents appropriate?
  3. If the IU’s program/placement is not appropriate, and the program unilaterally chosen by the Parents is appropriate, must the District supplement the Parents’ chosen program by providing ABA services?
  4. If the IU’s program/placement is not appropriate and the Parents’ unilaterally chosen placement is appropriate, are there equitable considerations that would reduce or remove the IU’s obligation to fund the Parents’ unilateral placement?
  5. Is the Child owed compensatory education services for pendent services not delivered while the IU was on hiatus during August 2016?
J-G-Delaware-County-Intermediate-Unit-ODRNo-18403-16-17-KE

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