MA vs. Bensalem Township School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

FINAL DECISION AND ORDER

Student’s Name: M. A.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 17765-1516AS

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Bensalem Township School District 3000 Donallen Drive Bensalem, PA 19020

Representative:

Pro Se

David T. Painter, Esq.
Sweet Stevens Katz & Williams LLP 331 E. Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18901

Dates of Hearing: July 6, 2016

Date of Decision: August 23, 2016

Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford, JD, CHO

Introduction and Procedural History

This matter concerns the educational rights of the Student, who is a student in the District.1 On May 17, 2016, the Student’s mother (Mother) requested this due process hearing by filing a Complaint with the Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR). On June 9, 2016, the Parent amended the Complaint. The original and amended Complaint present claims arising under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. The Parent proceeded pro se.

The District moved to limit the scope of both the original and amended Complaint. The District also challenged the sufficiency of the amended Complaint, and moved to strike portions of the amended complaint that raised issues beyond my jurisdictional authority. On June 17, I issued a Pre-Hearing Order. While I denied the District’s motions, I noted that the amended Complaint created significant practical problems, gave guidance to the Parent concerning the limitations of my authority, and cautioned the Parent regarding the particular burdens associated with the claims that are raised.

In substance, the Parent demands an out-of-district placement for the Student, particular transportation accommodations, and compensatory education to remedy an inappropriate extended school year program that the District offered for the summer of 2016.

The hearing convened on July 6, 2016, and concluded in a single session. I received the Parent’s written closing statement on July 29, 2016, and the District’s written closing statement on August 1, 2016. Although not clearly presented as an issue, in acknowledgement of the Parent’s pro se status, I will also consider whether the evidence establishes a denial of FAPE for which compensatory education is owed from May 17, 2014 through the present.

For reasons discussed below, I find in favor of the District.

Issues

The issues presented in this hearing are:2

  1. Did the District offer appropriate extended school year (ESY) programming for the summer of 2016?
  2. Has the District offered appropriate transportation?
M-A-Bensalem-Township-ODRNo-17765-1516AS

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