KL vs. Cheltenham Township School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: K.L.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: January 7, 2011

OPEN HEARING

ODR Case # 01651-1011AS

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Ms. Doris Galante
Cheltenham Township School District 2000 Ashbourne Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027

Representative:

Judith Gran, Esq.
19 Chestnut Street Haddonfield, NJ 08003

Claudia Huot, Esq. 484 Norristown Road Suite 100
Blue Bell, PA 19422

Date Record Closed: January 11, 2011

Date of Decision: January 25, 2011

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is an elementary school aged student who is a qualified handicapped person under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”).1 The student resides in the Cheltenham Township School District (“District”).

As a qualified handicapped person under Section 504, Student receives certain modifications of Student’s education program through a Section 504 plan. While not raised as an explicit issue in this hearing, the parties dispute whether or not the student should also be identified as a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEA”).2 In this regard, at least from parents’ perspective, the student is thought-to-be-eligible under IDEA.

A functional behavior assessment (“FBA”) was issued by the District in February 2010. Parents feel the FBA is inadequate and requested from the District an independent FBA at public expense. The District did not agree to pay for the independent FBA and, as required under the IDEA, filed the complaint in the instant case to defend the

appropriateness of its FBA.3 The District argues that it undertook and issued an appropriate FBA for the student. The parents counter that the District’s FBA is inappropriate due to a variety of substantive flaws.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the parents to the extent that the District must perform an additional FBA of the student. The District, however, will have the opportunity to evaluate the student and present its findings to the multi-disciplinary team.

ISSUES

Is the District’s FBA appropriate?

If not, are parents entitled to an FBA at District expense?

K-L-Cheltenham-Township-ODRNo-01651-1011AS

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