KB vs. Pennsbury School District

PENNSYLVANIA
Special Education Hearing Officer

Decision
File # 8955/07-08 LS
Due Process Hearing
For
KB
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx
Date of Hearing: August 18, 26, 27, September 19, 24, October 7, 2008

Open Hearing

Parties to the Hearing: Mr. and Mrs.

Pennsbury School District 134 Yardley Avenue Fallsington, PA 19058-0338

Representative:

Catherine Merino Reisman, Esquire 20 East Redman Avenue Haddonfield, NJ 08033-2315 Catherine@cmrlaw.net

Claudia Huot, Esquire
Wisler Pearlstine, LLP
484 Norristown Road, Suite 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422-2326 chuot@wispearl.com

Final Transcript Received: October 14, 2008

Record Closed: October 28, 2008

Date of Decision: November 7, 2008

Hearing Officer: Max Wald, Ed.D.

Background

Student, a late teen age eligible student (herein after Student) resides with Student’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. (herein after Parent[s]) within the boundaries of the Pennsbury School District (hereinafter District).

In July, 2006 the Parents completed an application for enrollment of their student in the District. Prior to that date the family had lived in [a neighboring state] where the Student had attended only private schools. The Parents alleged that at the time of their visit to the administration building they were told that their student was not eligible for special education.

The Parents and the Student met with a high school guidance counselor late in July 2006 and developed a schedule of classes for September 2006. The issue of special education or the need for services was not raised. The student did not attend the District high school that September and had already been enrolled earlier to attend a private school.

In February 2007 the Parents arranged for the Student to be evaluated by a private learning consultant and arranged for a private psychological evaluation in April of the same year.

During the summer (July 2007) the Parents met with Pennsbury’s supervisor of Special Education to discuss enrollment. When the Parents learned that the Student would not be evaluated until September, they continued with plans to enroll their student in a residential private school.

In September 2007 the Parents signed a “Permission to Evaluate” form and subsequently notified the District that Student might require special education services. The Student was evaluated and found to be not eligible. The results of the evaluation were reviewed with the Parent in November 2007. The Parent provided additional documentation of the Student’s disability and the District agreed to perform another psychological evaluation. The evaluation was done on 1/7/08 when returned home from Student’s residential school. The report was completed on February 28, 2008 and found the Student to be eligible for special education services.

The District convened a meeting of Student’s IEP team and an Individualized Education Program was crafted on March 25, 2008. The Parents rejected the Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP), returned the Student to Student’s residential private school in September 2008 and filed a request for mediation and a subsequent Due Process Hearing.

Issues

  1. Did the District fail in its Child Find responsibility to the Student?
  2. Are the Parents entitled to reimbursement for the cost of independent educational evaluations undertaken on behalf of the Student?
  3. Are the Parents entitled to reimbursement of tuition costs for the 2007- 2008 school year and tuition payment for the 2008-2009 school year?
  4. Is the Student currently receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment?
KB-Pennsbury-ODRNo-8955-07-08-LS

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