MF vs. Upper Merion School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: M.F.

ODR #00304/09-10 AS

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: November 20, 2009 January 6, 2010 January 26, 2010 January 29, 2010 March 12, 2010 May 11, 2010 June 14, 2010

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Upper Merion School District
435 Crossfield Road
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406

Representative:
Liliana Yazno-Bartle, Esquire
Law Offices of Caryl Oberman Grove Summit Office Park
607A North Easton Road
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania 19090

Mark Fitzgerald, Esquire
Fox Rothschild
Ten Sentry Parkway
Suite 200, PO Box 3001
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19422

Date Record Closed: June 24, 2010

Date of Decision: July 1, 2010

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO

Background

Student1 is a primary grades aged student who is eligible for special education services under the current classifications of autism, speech/language impairment, other health impairment and emotional disturbance. Student received Early Intervention services through the [local] IU. The Parents delayed Kindergarten entrance for one year in favor of placement in a typical preschool and a specialized speech/language program with continued home-based services through the IU. The District evaluated Student and developed an IEP for the 2009-2010 school year over several IEP meetings in which the Parents and other private providers engaged by the Parents participated. Before the District issued its evaluation report and before the first IEP meeting the Parents had put down a deposit on a private school and Student was accepted into the private school. Prior to the beginning of the school year Student’s Parents rejected the District’s final offer of a program and placement and unilaterally placed the Student in the private school. They filed for this hearing seeking tuition reimbursement as well as an order that the District provide Student with additional related services in the form of ABA, OT and PT. The District holds that it offered Student an appropriate program and placement, that the unilateral private placement is not appropriate, and that the equities favor the District. Further the District argues that since its program is appropriate and contains the requested related services it is not obligated to provide these for Student.

For the reasons set forth below I find in favor of the District.

Issues

  1. Did the School District fail to offer an appropriate program and placement for Student for the 2009-2010 school year?
  2. If the School District failed to offer an appropriate program and placement for Student for the 2009-2010 school year, was the placement unilaterally chosen by the Parents appropriate?
  3. If the School District failed to offer an appropriate program and placement for Student, and the placement unilaterally chosen by the Parents was appropriate, are there equitable considerations that would remove or reduce the District’s obligation for tuition reimbursement?
  4. Must the School District provide Student with ten-and-a-half [10 1⁄2] hours of home ABA programming, one [1] hour of individual occupational therapy, and one [1] hour of individual physical therapy weekly?
M-F-Upper-Merion-ODRNo-00304-09-10-AS

Leave a Reply

Pennsylvania

Montgomery Law, LLC
1420 Locust Street, Suite 420
Philadelphia, PA 19102
T/F. 215-650-7563

Rate By
SUPER LAWYERS
Joseph W Montgomery, II

New Jersey

Historic Smithville, Suite 1
1 N. New York Road
Galloway, NJ 08205
(all mail to Phila. office)
T. 856-282-5550

Disclaimer: Montgomery Law, LLC does not give legal advice until after it has entered into an attorney-client relationship. No part of this website creates an attorney-client relationship. All Parts of this website are Attorney Advertising. The photos and videos on this website contain portrayals of clients by non-clients, re-enactment of scenes, pictures and persons which are not actual or authentic and depictions which are a dramatization.