IN THE PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE FOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION
DECISION AND ORDER
ODR No. 01716-1011AS
Child’s Name: K.H.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Hearing Convened via Introduction of a Stipulated Record
Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]
Marple-Newtown School District
Nancy Ryan, Esquire McKinley & Ryan, LLC 238 West Miner Street West Chester, PA 19382
Karl A. Romberger, Jr., Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLP 331 Butler Avenue, Post Office Box 5069 New Britain, Pennsylvania 18901
Date Record Closed: May 6, 2011
Date of Decision: May 23, 2011
Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford, Esquire
This due process hearing concerns a Student1, who has severe needs. Although three issues are presented, the primary question in this case is whether residential programming is necessary for the Student to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). For the reasons discussed herein, I conclude that residential programming is necessary.
This hearing was conducted in a very unusual, but highly effective way. From the start, the parties agreed that the facts were not in dispute. Their disagreement is over what result the law compels. At the parties’ suggestion, an in-person hearing was not convened. Rather, the parties submitted extensive joint exhibits and stipulations. The parties also submitted briefs providing their analysis of the stipulated facts. Attorneys Romberger and Ryan have shown considerable creativity and pragmatism, and a remarkable willingness to work with each other. I hope they will share their experience in this case with their peers in the special education bar.
As stipulated by the parties, the issues in this case are:
- Whether the District offered the Student a free, appropriate public education for the 2010-11 school year pursuant to the IDEA and Section 504.
- Whether the Student’s June 10, 2010 Individualized Education Program (IEP) (Joint Exhibit D-43) is the Student’s pendent placement pursuant to the IDEA.
- Whether the Student must be provided with residential programming in order to receive a free, appropriate, public education and make meaningful educational progress pursuant to the IDEA and Section 504.