JH vs. Souderton Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: JH

ODR #6884/06-07 LS

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing: October 31, 2006 January 12, 2007 January 19, 2007 March 19, 2007

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Mr. and Mrs.

Souderton Area School District 760 Lower Road
Souderton, Pennsylvania 18964

Representative:
Frederick Stanczak, Esquire
179 N. Broad Street
Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901

Karl Romberger, Jr., Esquire Fox Rothschild
1250 S. Broad Street Suite 1000 Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19446

Date Record Closed: April 5, 2007

Date of Decision: April 20, 2007

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D.

Background

Student is a xx-year-old eligible student who resides in the Souderton Area School District (hereinafter District). Student is classified as having a specific learning disability that affects reading, mathematics and writing.

Mr. and Mrs., Student’s parents (hereinafter Parents) requested this hearing, alleging that Student did not make meaningful educational progress and was not afforded a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for the 2004-2005 and the 2005-2006 school years, and is therefore entitled to compensatory education. Further, the Parents allege that the IEP the District offered Student for the current school year, 2006-2007, is inappropriate and that they should therefore receive tuition reimbursement for [redacted] the private school into which they enrolled him for the current school year.

The District maintains that it did provide Student with FAPE for the two school years in question, that the IEP offered for the current school year is appropriate, and that therefore Student is not entitled to compensatory education and the Parents are not entitled to tuition reimbursement. Further, it is the District’s position that the placement unilaterally chosen by the Parents is not appropriate.

Originally scheduled for October 20, 2006, a date within the IDEIA regulatory timelines, the first session of this matter was rescheduled due to an educators’ conference. Later sessions were scheduled from among various dates offered in accord with availability of both parties, of witnesses, and of the attorneys. One session was delayed by nearly two hours due to multiple accidents on icy area roads.

Issues1

  1. Did the Souderton Area School District fail to provide Student with a free, appropriate public education for the 2004-2005 and/or the 2005-2006 school years?
  2. If the Souderton Area School District failed to provide Student with a free, appropriate public education for the 2004-2005 and/or the 2005-2006 school years, is he entitled to compensatory education and in what form and what amount?
  3. Did the Souderton Area School District fail to offer Student an appropriate IEP for the 2006-2007 school year?
  4. If the Souderton Area School District failed to offer Student an appropriate IEP for the 2006-2007 school year, is the Private School, the placement unilaterally selected by the Parents, appropriate?
  5. If the Souderton Area School District failed to offer Student an appropriate IEP for the 2006-2007 school year, and the Private School is an appropriate placement, does a balancing of the equities reduce or remove the District’s responsibility for tuition reimbursement?
JH-Souderton-Area-ODRNo-6884-06-07-LS

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