MH vs. Pennsbury School District

PENNSYLVANIA
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Due Process Hearing for M.H.

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

ODR File No.: 7702/06-07 KE

Dates of Hearing: July 19, 2007 July 20, 2007 July 23, 2007

Closed Hearing

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents

Mr. and Mrs.

District

Ms. Diane Paul, Director of Special Education Pennsbury School District
134 Yardley Avenue, P.O. Box 338 Fallsington, PA 19058-0338

Representatives:

Frederick M. Stanczak, Esquire 179 N. Broad Street Doylestown, PA 18901

Claudia L. Huot, Esquire
Wisler Pearlstine, LLP
484 Norristown Road, Suite 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422

Dates Transcripts Received: July 28, 2007

Record Closed: August 3, 2007

Date of Decision: August 18, 2007

Hearing Officer: Rosemary E. Mullaly

I. Background and Procedural History

A. Background

The Student is a xx-year-old recent high school graduate of the Pennsbury School District. Since first grade he has been identified with a specific learning disability in reading and written expression. The Parents assert that the District denied the Student a free appropriate public education because the IEPs implemented during the period between May 21, 2005 and the end of the 2006-2007 school year did not provide the Student with appropriate academic instruction in reading and written expression; it failed to identify and address his hearing impairment and specific learning disability in math; and it failed to provide the Student with an appropriate transitional services plan. They request two years of hour-for- hour compensatory education in order to make up for these asserted deprivations. They also seek an independent educational evaluation at public expense to ascertain the extent to which the Student requires remediative education, specific services and assistive technologies in order for him to be successful in his post-secondary career.

The District asserts that the Student received an appropriate educational program because he made meaningful progress in all areas of need as indicated by passing grades; that his gradual hearing loss did not rise to the level of am impairment for which the Student was entitled for services; and because he was accepted into two colleges, his transition plan was appropriate. The District asserts no compensatory education award is therefore merited according to law. With regard to reimbursement of the independent evaluation at public expense, the District further asserts that this remedy is prospective relief for an inappropriate evaluation of a student who continues to remain eligible for special education services – a status the Student does not currently hold since his graduation in June of 2007.

B. Procedural History

The Office for Dispute Resolution received the parents’ hearing request in this matter on May 21, 2007. The mandatory resolution meeting took place on June 14, 2007. The hearing was originally scheduled for June 20, 2007, but during a June 19, 2007 conference call with counsel, the parties sought a continuance until July 20, 2007 to allow for up-to-date achievement testing of the Student to be completed. In hope that this additional information could result in an amicable resolution, the continuance was granted contingent upon the assurance that the parties would schedule as many days as were necessary to compile the record in a timely manner. The three-session hearing was held on three consecutive days – July 19, July 20, and July 23, 2007. The hearing officer received the transcripts of the proceedings on July 28, 2007, but did not receive a post-hearing stipulation from counsel until August 3, 2007.

III. Issues Presented

  1. Whether the District Appropriately Evaluated and Programmed for the Student during the period between May 21, 2005 and the present, and if not, to what extent is the Student entitled to compensatory education?
  2. Is the Student entitled to an independent educational evaluation at public expense.
M-H-Pennsbury-ODRNo-7702-06-07-KE

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