SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER
DUE PROCESS HEARING
Name of Child: L.N.
ODR #16759 / 15-16-KE
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: October 6, 2015 October 28, 2015 November 18, 2015 November 20, 2015
Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]
North Penn School District 401 E. Hancock Street Lansdale, PA 19446
Jason Fortenberry, Esquire Frankel Kershenbaum 1230 County Line Road Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Kyle Somers, Esquire
1800 Pennbrook Parkway Suite 200 Lansdale, PA 19446
Date Record Closed: January 5, 2016
Date of Decision: February 2, 2016
Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official
Student1 is a pre-teen aged 6th grade student residing in the District who is eligible for special education subject to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] and Pennsylvania Chapter 14. Student’s classifications are in some dispute, although Other Health Impairment and Specific Learning Disability are not contested. Student is also a qualified handicapped person / protected handicapped student under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. §794), and Chapter 15 of the Pennsylvania Code. Student attended school in the District from kindergarten through second grades, and then pursuant to a settlement agreement attended a private school for children with learning differences (Private School) for 3rd through 5th grades. The District declined to grant the Parents’ request to extend the agreement for the 2015-2016 school year, and offered Student a program/placement to be implemented for 6th grade in the District.
The Parents believed that the program and placement the District offered was inappropriate and kept Student at the Private School for the current school year. They asked for this hearing, seeking tuition reimbursement. They are also asking for reimbursement for the services of a behavior consultant whom they engaged to work with Student at the Private School and at home.
The parties stipulated that although the District had previously objected to exhibits J-32 and J-33 on the basis that the information contained therein constituted settlement discussions, and the objections were sustained, the District was willing to withdraw its objection and therefore both exhibits are included in the record.
For the reasons put forth below I find in favor of the Parents on the issue of tuition reimbursement and in favor of the District on the issue of reimbursement for the behavior consultant.
- Was the program/placement the District offered to Student for the 2015-2016 school year appropriate?
- If the District’s offered program/placement was not appropriate, is the program/placement unilaterally chosen by the Parents appropriate?
- Are there any equitable considerations that would remove or reduce the District’s obligation to fund the parentally-chosen program/placement?
- Should the District be required to reimburse the Parents for the costs of the services of a behavior consultant?