KL vs. Red Lion Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: K.L.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 00440-0910 KE

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Red Lion Area School District 601 Knight Road
Ambler, PA 19002-3441

Representative:

Ann L. Martin, Esquire Gibbel, Kraybill & Hess LLP 41 East Orange Street Lancaster, PA 17602

Brooke E.D. Say, Esquire
Stock & Leader
Susquehanna Commerce Center East, Su. E600

221 West Philadelphia Street York, PA 17401-2994

Date of Resolution Session December 4, 2009

Dates of Hearing: January 29, 2010, March 5, 2010, March 19, 2010, April 8, 2010, June 11, 2010

Record Closed: July 1, 2010

Date of Decision: July 16, 2010

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION

Student is a [a beyond teenaged] eligible resident of the Red Lion Area School District (District); Student is identified with Specific Learning Disability. (NT 13-13 to 14-13; S-44.) Student has been enrolled and attending school in the District for over thirteen years. (HO-1.) Student is diagnosed with severe dyslexia, and has a severe language based learning disability. (NT 428-8 to 9; S-47 p. 25.) Student’s phonological processing skills are very weak, and Student cannot decode words for purposes of reading. (S-47.) An independent evaluation found that the Student has orthographic processing problems as well. (NT 424-9 to 10.)

Parents seek compensatory education for an alleged failure to provide the Student with a FAPE, due to failure to provide appropriate education in reading, during all of the school years beginning with the Student’s fourth grade year, the 1999-2000 school year. I customarily establish an ending date for my consideration of compensatory education, and I ordinarily hear evidence and render a decision for the period up to the first day of hearing; in this matter that day was January 29, 2010. Therefore, the claim regarding inappropriate reading services extends from the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year until January 29, 2010. (NT 1074-22 to 1075-1.)

Parents argue that their claims should not be subject to the IDEA two year limitation period, 20 U.S.C. §1415(f)(3)(C), because the district misrepresented that the Student was making progress in reading, whereas the Student was not making meaningful progress. (NT 29-5 to 36-8.) In addition, the Parents argue that the District failed to provide a FAPE to the Student from November 4, 2007 to January 29, 2010 (the two year timeframe permitted by the IDEA limitations language) with regard to reading, written expression, transition and ESY. (NT 1055-13 to 17.) Finally, the Parents request prospective relief for the Student to encompass the educational program for the coming school year, for as long as the Student is eligible for FAPE with regard to Student’s age.

The District denies that it made any misrepresentation to the Parents, and moves that the complaint be dismissed for all claims arising before November 4, 2007. It asserts that at all times it addressed the Student’s reading disability and that it provided Student with a reasonable opportunity to gain meaningful educational benefit in reading and that Student in fact acquired such benefit in reading. It also asserts that its program was appropriate with regard to written expression, transition and ESY.

This matter was heard in five hearing sessions from January 29, 2010 to June 11, 2010. The parties submitted written stipulations. (HO 1.) The District filed a motion to limit claims to two years of compensatory education, and I heard extensive evidence on that issue over a period of four hearing sessions. The parties filed summations on the motion, (HO 2 and 3); I reserved decision on that motion pending completion of the hearing. The parties agreed that the hearings on the motion also encompassed the evidence on the merits of those years. The record closed on July 1, 2010, upon receipt of the parties’ written summations with regard to the two year period prior to filing for due process.

ISSUES

  1. Are the Parents barred from asserting a claim for compensatory education for the period from the first day of the 1999-2000 school year, when Student was in fourth grade, until November 4, 2007?
  1. Did the District provide a free appropriate public education to the Student with regard to reading from the first day of the 1999-2000 school year, when Student was in fourth grade, until January 29, 2010?
  2. Did the District provide a free appropriate public education to the Student with regard to written expression, ESY and post-secondary transition from November 4, 2007 until January 29, 2010?
  3. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide compensatory education for the period from the first day of the 1999-2000 school year, when Student was in fourth grade, until January 29, 2010?
  4. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide an appropriate program and placement to the Student for the 2010-2011 school year?
K-L-Red-Lion-Area-ODRNo-00440-0910-KE

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