MB vs. School District Pottstown

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 2721-1112 AS

Child’s Name: M.B.
Date of Birth: [Redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 2/15/12, 3/6/12, 3/7/12, 4/12/12, 4/13/12

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parent Parent

School District
Pottstown
940 N. Franklin St. Administration Building Annex Pottstown, PA 19464

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Heidi Konkler-Goldsmith, Esquire McAndrews Law Offices
30 Cassatt Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312

School District Attorney Timothy Gilsbach, Esquire Fox, Rothschild, L.L.P.
10 Sentry Parkway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 3001

Blue Bell, PA 19422-3001

Date Record Closed: May 31, 2012

Date of Decision: June 12, 2012

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student in this case moved into the District in April 2009 and enrolled in the high school with an IEP from the school district in which the family previously resided. Student had received early intervention services, and upon reaching school age, identified as IDEA eligible in the category of specific learning disabilities.

Parent initially filed a due process complaint in August 2011, alleging denial of FAPE by the District beginning with Student’s enrollment in April 2009. At the first hearing session on that complaint, the parties announced a settlement and the original case was closed, subject to Parent’s right to reassert the claims in a new complaint, preserving the original filing date. When the District rejected the agreement, Parent commenced this case, which was also appeared to be resolved on the date the first hearing session was convened. When the District again refused to approve the settlement, the evidentiary record was completed over four hearing sessions in March and April 2012.

For the reasons that follow, Student is awarded compensatory education beginning with the first day of the 2009/2010 school year. The District is also required to fund an independent educational evaluation to determine Student’s current academic needs, as well as medical and emotional/mental health needs, if any, in order to guide the selection of compensatory services. The District will not be required to provide an IEP or otherwise continue serving as Student’s LEA, since Student has passed the age of 21, but is required to fund an educational consultant to assist Student and Parent in selecting compensatory services. In the alternative, if Parent so requests, the District may fulfill that role.

ISSUES

  1. Did the School District appropriately evaluate Student and appropriately identify all areas of need or should the District be required to provide Student with an independent educational evaluation?
  2. Did the School District offer Student an appropriate program and placement that addressed all areas of academic, social and emotional need and was reasonably calculated to yield meaningful progress?
  3. Should the District be required to provide Student with compensatory education, and if so, for what period, in what amount, and in what form?
  4. If compensatory education is awarded, should the School District be required to continue serve as Student’s LEA and to offer an IEP to Student until the compensatory education award is exhausted?
M-B-Pottstown-ODRNo-2721-1112-AS

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