MG vs. Downingtown Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: M.G.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: December 6, 2010 December 10, 2010 January 21, 2011 February 7, 2011 February 15, 2011 March 18, 2011

CLOSED HEARING

ODR No. 00857-0910KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Downingtown Area School District 540 Trestle Place
Downingtown, PA 19335

Representative:

David S. Thalheimer, Esquire Thalheimer & Palumbo
1831 Chestnut Street Suite 300 Philadelphia, PA 19103

Anne E. Hendricks, Esquire Levin Legal Group
1301 Masons Mill Business Park 1800 Byberry Road

Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Date Record Closed: March 25, 20116

Date of Decision: April 9, 2011

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is a middle-school aged student in the above-named School District (hereafter “District.”) Student is eligible for special education by reason of a specific learning disability in reading and a speech/language impairment. Student’s Parents filed a due process complaint on March 22, 2010 under both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)2 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504),3 challenging the educational program offered and provided to Student by the District for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years. As remedies, the Parents sought compensatory education, implementation of an appropriate special education program, and reimbursement for an independent educational evaluation, as well as an order for the District to place Student in an appropriate private school at public expense.4

The hearing convened over six sessions5 at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The record closed on March 25, 2011 upon receipt of the final transcripts. For the reasons which follow, I find in favor of the Parents in part, and will award compensatory education for a portion of the time period claimed.

ISSUES

  1. Whether Student was provided with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) for the 2009-10 school year, including extended school year (ESY) services in the summer of 2009;
  2. Whether Student has been and is provided with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) for the 2010-11 school year;
  3. If Student was denied FAPE, is compensatory education an appropriate remedy for past deprivations and, if so, in what amount;
  4. If Student was denied FAPE, is an alternative private educational placement at public expense an appropriate prospective remedy; and
  5. Whether the Parents are entitled to reimbursement for an independent educational evaluation (IEE)?
M-G-Downingtown-Area-ODRNo-00857-0910KE

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