Special Education Hearing Officer
ODR No. 00603-0910AS
Child’s Name: KG
Date of Birth: x/xx/xxxx
Date of Hearing: 4/14/10
Parties to the Hearing: Parents
Pennsbury School District
134 Yardley Avenue, P.O.Box 338 Fallsington, PA 19058-0338
Stephen J. Jacobson, Esquire Connolly, Jacobson & John 188 North Main Street Doylestown, PA 18901
School District Attorney Claudia Huot, Esq.
Wisler, Pearlstine, LLP
484 Norristown Road, Suit 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422
Date Record Closed: April 23, 2010
Date of Decision: May 8, 2010
Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
(Student) is a ten year old resident of the Pennsbury School District (hereinafter District). Before beginning kindergarten in the District, Student had been identified as IDEA eligible by reason of an autism spectrum disorder that primarily affects language and social skills.
The dispute in this matter is centered on the legal interpretation of a settlement agreement whereby the District paid Student’s tuition at a private school chosen by Parents for several years. Early in the 2009/2010 school year, Student was disenrolled from the private school by mutual agreement of the private school and Parents due to the school’s inability to continue meeting Student’s needs. Parents immediately sought educational services from the District, but was admittedly not offered a special education program/and placement for four months, until after the District completed a reevaluation of Student.
Parents initiated a due process complaint for compensatory education, contending that the District was required to provide a FAPE to Student upon notice that she was no longer enrolled in the private school and Parents’ simultaneous request for services. The District maintains that the parties’ agreement relieved it of the obligation to provide a FAPE to Student for the entire 2009/2010 school year.
With few facts in dispute, the hearing was completed in one fairly brief session, followed by submission of a written closing argument from the District as agreed by the parties. Parents elected to rely upon their opening statement, as well as the testimony and documents of record. Based upon the largely undisputed facts, the plain language of the agreement at issue and the provisions of the IDEA statute, Parents will be awarded compensatory education from October 13, 2009 until February 16, 2010, the day before Student began attending her current program.
Was the District required to provide Student with an appropriate special education program for the portion of the 2009/2010 school year that she was not attending the private school program for which the School District had paid tuition in lieu of FAPE pursuant to an agreement between the parties?KG-Pennsbury-ODRNo-00603-0910AS