OM vs. Pottsville Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 00057-0910LS

Child’s Name: O. M.
Date of Birth: xx-xx-xxxx
Dates of Hearing: 11/6/09; 11/9/09, 12/7/09, 12/16/09

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District

Pottsville Area
1501 West Laurel Boulevard Pottsville, PA 17901

Representative: Parent Attorney

Albert J. Evans, Esq. Riley and Fanelli, P.C. No. 1 Mahantongo Street Pottsville, PA 17901

School District Attorney

Jeffrey F. Champagne, Esq. McNees, Wallace & Nurick 100 Pine Street, PO Box 1166 Harrisburg, PA 17108-1166

Date Record Closed: January 8, 2010

Date of Decision: January 23, 2010

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[Student], currently enrolled in a private residential secondary school, was a regular education student for most of the time he attended school in the Pottsville Area School District [hereinafter District], where he continues to reside with his Parents when school is not in session.

The District initially evaluated Student for IDEA eligibility in 2005 after he was hospitalized for a [redacted medical reason] and found him ineligible for IDEA services. After receiving notice of a medical diagnosis of depression and ADHD in the fall of 2008, the District provided Student with a §504 service plan.

In January 2008, after several short term hospitalizations in April, July, September and November 2008, [redacted medical reason] resulted in a longer in-patient hospital admission. When Student was discharged, Parents transported him directly to an out of state residential treatment facility. After an evaluation in the spring of 2009, Student was determined by the District to be IDEA eligible due to emotional disturbance.

Parents rejected the IEP offered by the District for the 2009/2010 school year and the District refused Parents’ request for reimbursement of costs for the treatment facility where Student spent the second half of the 2008/2009 school year, and for the current private school placement Parents unilaterally selected at the beginning of the 2009/2010 school year.

Parents filed a due process complaint in August 2009, asserting that the District failed to timely evaluate Student and provide special education services, for which Parents request compensatory education from the beginning of the 2007/2008 school year through December 2008. Parents also seek reimbursement for the costs of Students’ private placements from January 2009 through the current school year. Based upon the applicable law and an evidentiary record compiled over four due process hearing sessions between November 6 and December 16, 2009, Parents’ claims will be denied.

ISSUES

  1. Did the Pottsville Area School District fail to timely identify [Student] as a student eligible for special education services at any time between the 2004/2005 school year and the time an evaluation was completed during the 2008/2009 school year?
  2. Is [Student] entitled to an award of compensatory education for any period of time from the beginning of the 2007/2008 school year through December 2008, and if so, for what period and in what amount?
  3. Are [Student]’s Parents entitled to reimbursement for the costs of associated with [Student] placement at [Redacted facility] services from January 2009 through discharge in July 2009?
  4. Are [Student]’s Parents entitled to reimbursement for [Student] tuition at [Redacted School] for the 2009/2010 school year?

O-M-Pottsville-Area-ODRNo-00057-0910LS-

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