JH vs. Bucks County IU

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: J.H.

ODR #01271/09-10 KE

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: None Held

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Bucks County IU 22 EI Program 705 Shady Retreat Road Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901

Representative:
Stephen Jacobson, Esquire Connolly, Jacobson and John 188 North Main Street Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901

Andrew Faust, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz and Williams 331 Butler Avenue PO Box 5069 New Britain, Pennsylvania 18901

Date Record Closed: December 5, 2010

Date of Decision: December 13, 2010

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

Background

The parties’ having previously settled all other issues in this matter, the sole issue remaining in dispute concerns the Parents’ assertion that by law, as part of their child’s early intervention program, they are entitled to reimbursement of past and prospective tuition costs they have incurred to place their child in a typical preschool where the child currently receives special education services from the BCIU.

The parties through counsel requested and received permission to submit Joint Stipulated Facts and briefs supporting their positions in lieu of holding an in-person hearing. For the reasons set forth below I find in favor of the Intermediate Unit.

Issue

The parties presented the hearing officer with the following Stipulated Issue: Whether the “free appropriate public education” mandate of the IDEA, as defined in subparagraph 1412(a)(1)(A), and as limited by subparagraph 1412(a)(1)(B)(i), of that statute ever requires, under any circumstances, state and local educational agencies in Pennsylvania to provide children with disabilities aged 3 through 5, at no cost to their parents, typical preschool placements where typical, free preschool programming is not provided to similarly-situated nondisabled peers.

However, this hearing officer believes that ruling on the Stipulated Issue as crafted by the parties exceeds her authority, which she believes is limited to addressing issues with regard to individual children, and that the Stipulated Issue as stated is properly before the District Court or Commonwealth Court. Therefore the Issue that will be addressed is as follows:

Whether the “free appropriate public education” mandate of the IDEA, as defined in subparagraph 1412(a)(1)(A), and as limited by subparagraph 1412(a)(1)(B)(i), of that statute requires the Bucks County Intermediate Unit to provide [the Child], a preschool child with a disability, at no cost to the parents, a typical preschool placement where typical, free preschool programming is not provided to similarly-situated nondisabled peers.

J-H-Bucks-County-ODRNo-01271-09-10-KE

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