Special Education Hearing Officer
ODR No. 1504-1011AS
Child’s Name: K.C.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 5/3/11, 6/22/11, 6/24/11, 6/28/11, 6/29/11
Parties to the Hearing:
16 Weldon Drive Doylestown, PA 18901-2359
Nancy Ryan, Esquire McKinley & Ryan, LLC 16 West Market Street West Chester, PA 19382
School District Attorney Scott Wolpert, Esquire Timoney Knox
P.O. Box 7544
400 Maryland Drive
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Date Record Closed: July 29, 2011
Date of Decision: August 5, 2011
Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Student was enrolled in a District elementary school from 1st through 4th grades and received regular education instructional interventions each year, primarily because of difficulties with reading and writing skills. At the end of 4th grade, upon receiving a neuropsychological report from an independent evaluator, the District reevaluated and identified Student as IDEA eligible after an initial District evaluation several months earlier resulted in a non-eligibility conclusion. Rejecting the proposed IEP for the current school year, Parents enrolled Student in a private school, filed a due process complaint alleging a child find violation dating back to the 2007/2008 school year, and are seeking compensatory education for the District’s alleged denial of FAPE to Student from 2nd grade through the end of 4th grade, including the District’s failure to provide an ESY program during the summer following 4th grade.
The hearing was conducted over 5 sessions in May and June 2011. Based on the evidence supporting the findings of fact and discussion below, the District failed to timely evaluate and identify Student as IDEA eligible at the end of 2nd grade, or early in 3rd grade at the latest, and thereby failed to provide a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to Student during 3rd grade and 4th grade. To remedy the District’s denial of FAPE, Student will be awarded the amount and type of compensatory education services needed to make up for the District’s failure to timely fulfill its IDEA child find obligations, as established by the testimony of the neuropsychologist who conducted the independent evaluation and testified as Parents’ expert witness at the due process hearing. Student will also receive compensatory education for the District’s failure to provide the ESY services the IEO team determined that Student needed during the summer following 4th grade.
- Did the School District violate its child find obligations by not identifying Student as IDEA eligible prior to the end of 4th grade, and if so, at what point should the District have evaluated and identified Student as IDEA eligible?1
- Was the School District’s initial evaluation of Student appropriate?
- If the District failed to timely identify Student, is Student entitled to an award of compensatory education and if so, for what period, in what amount and in what form, and should Parents’ use of a compensatory education fund, if any, be limited?