MV vs. Lakeland School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: MV

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xxxx

Dates of Hearing:
October 3, 2006, October 30, 2006, November 29, 2006

CLOSED HEARING
ODR #6822/ 06-07 AS

Parties to the Hearing: Parent

Lakeland School District 1593 Lakeland Drive Jermyn PA 18433-9801

Representative:

Drew Christian, Esquire 801 Monroe Avenue Scranton, PA 18510

Jane M. Williams, Esquire
Sweet Stevens Katz & Williams, LLP 331 E. Butler Avenue
P.O. Box 5069
New Britain PA 18901

Date Record Closed: December 5, 2006

Date of Decision: December 19, 2006

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION

Student is a xx year old eligible resident of the Lakeland School District (District). (FF 1.) The Student has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. (FF 2.) Educationally she is identified with specific learning disability in mathematics and emotional disturbance.
(FF 3.) Her Father (Parent) requested this due process proceeding, seeking compensatory education for the period from June 2005 to the date of the first hearing in this matter. (NT 506-7 to 13; S-43.)1

The Parent alleged that the District had failed to provide an adequate ESY plan for the summer of 2005 and had failed to implement the plan that it did provide. (S-43.) The Parent also claimed that the District had failed to provide FAPE in the 2005-2006 school year, and in the 2006–2007 school year up until the date of the first hearing, due to deficiencies in the Student’s August 25, 2005 and November 2005 IEP documents. Ibid. Alleged deficiencies included omissions in the present levels of educational functioning, goals and objectives, specially designed instruction, progress monitoring and reporting, transportation services, as well as failures to implement the Student’s IEP. Ibid. Finally, the Parent argued that the District had failed to provide an adequate ESY plan for the summer of 2006, and had failed to implement ESY during that summer. Ibid. The Parent also requested tuition reimbursement and an independent educational evaluation. Ibid.

While denying the Parent’s factual allegations, the District raised a number of legal arguments. Regarding ESY for the summer of 2005, the District argued that this hearing officer was deprived of jurisdiction because a previous hearing officer and appeals panel had approved the ESY plan for the summer of 2005, and because the Bureau of Enforcement of the Pennsylvania Department of Education had exclusive jurisdiction to enforce those orders. (NT 17-15 to 18-2, 21-22 to 22-1.) Regarding the 2005-2006 school year, the District argued that the Student was placed by another agency in a residential treatment facility for the entire time, and thus the District had no responsibility for the Student’s special education program, pursuant to 24 P.S. §13-1306 (1949)(amended June 7, 1993, P.L. 49, No. 16, §4). (NT 19-22 to 21-21.) Regarding ESY for the summer of 2006, the District argued that it had no responsibility, again relying upon § 1306, and that implementation had been impossible because it did not receive notice of the Student returning to its program in time to implement the ESY. (NT 22-2 to 11.)

ISSUES

  1. Is the Student entitled to compensatory education for the District’s alleged failure to provide appropriate ESY services for the summer of 2005?
  2. Was the District responsible for providing FAPE from July 2005 until August 2006, during which time the Student was placed in residential treatment facilities?
  3. Is the student entitled to compensatory education for the District’s failure to provide an appropriate IEP, and failing to provide appropriate monitoring, reporting, transportation and other services, which allegedly denied the Student FAPE for the 2005-2006 school year and the 2006- 2007 school year until August 21, 2006?
  4. Is the Student entitled to compensatory education for the District’s failure to provide an appropriate IEP and educational services from August 21, 2006 until October 3, 2006?
MV-Lakeland-ODRNo-6822-06-07-AS

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