SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER
DUE PROCESS HEARING
Name of Child: L.M.
Date of Birth: [Redacted]
Dates of Hearing: January 30, 2012 March 13, 2012 June 4, 2012 June 5, 2012
Parties to the Hearing: Parents
Downingtown Area School District 126 Wallace Avenue Downingtown, PA 19335
Hollie John, Esquire Connolly, Jacobson and John 188 North Main Street Doylestown, PA 18901
Jennifer Donaldson, Esquire
Sweet Stevens Katz and Williams 331 E. Butler Avenue PO Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901
Date Record Closed: June 22, 2012
Date of Decision: July 3, 2012
Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D. Certified Hearing Official
The claims in this matter have been asserted pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq., and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [Section 504] 29 U.S.C. § 794. Student1 is a teen-aged eligible student with Other Health Impairment and a Specific Learning Disability who resides in the Downingtown Area School District (hereinafter District).thAlthough Student attended public school in the District from Kindergarten through 4 grade, for the past seven years Student has been attending a private school; for the first six years the District funded the private placement pursuant to a settlement agreement that was twice renewed without litigation.
For the 2011-2012 school year the District offered Student a program and placement within the District. The Parents did not approve the District’s offer, unilaterally continued the private school placement without District funding, and filed for a due process hearing.
The first issue in this hearing, then, is whether or not the District is required to reimburse the Parents for Student’s tuition at the private school for the school year just concluded. The Parents are also requesting reimbursement for an independent educational evaluation [IEE] that they procured for Student.
- Are the Parents entitled to tuition reimbursement for Student’s private school placement for academic year 2011-2012?
- Was the program and placement the District offered to Student appropriate?
- If the District’s offer was inappropriate, was the placement unilaterally selected by the Parents appropriate under the Act? 2
- If the District’s program was inappropriate and the Parents’ unilateral placement appropriate, do equitable considerations remove or reduce the District’s obligation to reimburse the Parents for tuition?
- Must the District reimburse the Parents for the independent educational evaluation they procured for Student?