MJ vs. School District Tredyffrin-Easttown

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 3127-1112 KE

Child’s Name: M.J.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: 8/10/12, 9/4/12, 9/7/12, 9/13/12, 9/24/12, 9/26/12, 10/3/12, 10/23/12, 11/2/12, 11/8/12, 11/14/12, 11/19/ 12, 11/20/12, 12/10/12

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District Tredyffrin-Easttown
940 W. Valley Road, Suite 1700 Wayne, PA 19807

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Ilene Young, Esquire
Law Offices of Ilene Young, Esquire 172 Middletown Boulevard, Suite 204 Langhorne, PA 19047

School District Attorney Lawrence Dodds, Esquire Wisler, Pearlstine, Talone, Craig, Garrity & Potash
Office Court at Walton Point
484 Norristown Road – Suite 100 Blue Bell, PA 19422-2326

Date Record Closed: January 7, 2013

Date of Decision: January 21, 2013

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is currently enrolled in a District elementary school and receiving instruction in an autistic support classroom. Student enrolled in the District for second grade prior to the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year. The family explicitly chose to relocate from northeastern Pennsylvania and move into the District to seek better special education services than they believed Student received in kindergarten and first grade, but hoped the District would agree to place Student in a private school Parents believed would provide the greatest benefit.

Although the District believed it could provide appropriate services to meet Student’s needs, Parents disagreed and rejected the 9 IEPs offered by the District between July 2010 and January 2012. The District has, however, implemented the proposed IEPs, so special education services have been provided to Student without interruption through the present.

Parents filed a due process complaint in May 2012 seeking compensatory education and a change in program/placement for the current school year. A difficult procedural history followed, including a reassignment from the originally assigned hearing officer, interim motions/rulings and scheduling difficulties arising from personal and professional circumstances that affected both parties. The confluence of such issues resulted in an unusually long hearing in terms of both time and number of sessions.

Although it is unfortunate that the due process hearing required expenditures of significant time and resources on the part of everyone involved, the extensive record established that Student has received an appropriate program and placement from the time of enrollment in the District through the present. Student’s needs, therefore have been met, and Student’s educational progress has not been adversely affected by the length of the hearing.

ISSUES1

  1. Did the School District provide Student with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) during the 2010-2011 and the 2011/2012 school years, including ESY during the summers of 2011 and 2012?
  2. If not, what remedy is appropriate?
  3. Is the District offering Student an appropriate program for the 2012-2013 school year?
  4. If not, is the appropriate remedy placement in the specific private school requested by Parents, or, in the alternative, should the District be ordered to identify a different program and placement for Student within or outside of the District, or to develop a different program and placement for Student?
M-J-Tredyffrin-Easttown-ODRNo-3127-1112-KE

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