OR vs. Easton Area School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 13256-1213 AS

Child’s Name: O.R.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 1/11/13 2/25/13, 2/26/13

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parents

School District
Easton Area School District 1801 Bushkill Drive Easton, PA 18042-4298

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Angela Uliana-Murphy Esq. 106 N. Franklin St., Suite 2 P.O. Box 97
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

School District Attorney
Kristine Marakovits-Roddick Esq. King, Spry,
One West Broad Street, Suite 700 Bethlehem, PA 18018

Date Record Closed: April 3, 2013

Date of Decision: April 18, 2013

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Student involved in this case enrolled in the District at the beginning of the 2008/2009 school year, when the family moved to Pennsylvania from a neighboring state and began attending 2nd grade with supplemental learning support and speech/language support based upon the out of state IEP. After an evaluation in the fall of 2008, Student’s IDEA eligibility in the categories of OHI and speech/language impairment was confirmed.

Although initially pleased with Student’s progress in the District, Parents’ concerns about Student’s complex needs arising from a number of health issues in infancy that had created developmental delays and a suspicion of cognitive impairment increased during 3rd and 4th grades.

At the beginning of 5th grade, Parents enrolled Student in a private school and initially filed a due process complaint to obtain public funding for the private placement, as well as compensatory education for two years before the complaint was filed. The private placement, however, was unsuccessful and Student returned to the District. Parents’ claims at the due process hearing were limited to compensatory education for the period beginning two years before the complaint was filed and continuing through the end of the 2011/2012 school year.

Based upon a thorough review of the testimony and documentary evidence compiled over a three session hearing in January and late February 2013, which established that the District did not thoroughly evaluate Student in 2011, and did not effectively and appropriately address Student’s significant needs with sufficient special education and related services during 3rd and 4th grades, Student will be awarded compensatory education for the entire period in dispute, although in different amounts for the periods before and after the April 2011 reevaluation.

ISSUES

  1. Did the School District appropriately evaluate Student, and did the District’s evaluations appropriately identify Student’s eligibility category and needs during the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 school years?
  2. Did the School District provide sufficient appropriate special education and related services during the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 school years such that Student was reasonably likely to make meaningful educational progress during those school years?1
  3. If the School District violated IDEA in any respect, is Student entitled to an award of compensatory education, and if so, for what period, in what amount and in what form?
O-R-Easton-Area-ODRNo-13256-1213-AS

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