JL vs. Pine-Richland School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

Child’s Name: J. L.
Date of Birth: [redacted]

CLOSED HEARING

ODR File No. 16150-14-15 AS

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

Local Education Agency Pine-Richland School District 702 Warrendale Road Gibsonia, PA 15044

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Jeffrey J. Ruder, Esquire Michelle Kline, Esquire 429 Forbes Avenue
Suite 450
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

LEA Attorney
Patricia R. Andrews, Esquire 1500 Ardmore Boulevard Suite 506
Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Date Record Closed: May 17, 2016

Dates of Hearing: 10/27/2015, 11/19/2015, 4/12/2016, and 4/14/2016

Date of Decision: May 31, 2016

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore. M.Ed., J.D. Certified Hearing Official

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The student (hereafter Student)1 is a late teenaged student formerly attending the Pine Richland School District (District), and is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).2 Student’s Parents filed a due process complaint against the District asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,3 as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over four sessions. Specifically, the Parents claimed that the District failed to appropriately program for Student’s special education needs from April 2011 through the end of the 2014-15 school year, after which Student withdrew from the District. The District challenged the scope of the hearing, and further maintained that it met all of its IDEA and Section 504 obligations toward Student.

The case was bifurcated to address the scope of the hearing before presentation of evidence on the substantive claims.4 Following an Interim Ruling, wherein this hearing officer concluded that the Parents had not filed their Complaint within two years of the date they knew or had reason to know of the facts underlying their earliest claims (HO-3), the parties proceeded with evidence on the substantive issues from April 2013 forward.

For the reasons set forth below, the Parents will prevail on a portion of their claims.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the District complied with its obligation to provide Student with FAPE between April 2013 and the end of the 2014-15 school year under the IDEA and Section 504 in addressing all of Student’s needs; and
  2. If it did not, is Student entitled to compensatory education and, if so, in what form and amount?
J-L-Pine-Richland-ODRNo-16150-14-15-AS

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