Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: R.A.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: September 13 & 20, 2011
ODR Case # 1652-10-11-KE
Parties to the Hearing: Parent
Marple Newtown School District 26 Media Line Road
Newtown Square, PA 19073-4694
Nancy Ryan, Esq. McKinley & Ryan
238 West Miner Street West Chester, PA 19382
Karl Romberger, Esq.
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 East Butler Avenue
P.O. Box 5069
New Britain, PA 18901
Date Record Closed: October 12, 2011
Date of Decision: October 25, 2011
Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
[Name redacted] (“student”) is a 17-year old student residing in the Marple Newtown School District (“District”) who is a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”)1. Specifically, the student is identified with severe autism, mental retardation, and other disabilities. The parties dispute the necessity, and therefore the appropriateness, of a residential component for the student’s educational programming. Particularly, parent claims that a residential setting is a necessary component for the provision of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) for the student. The District maintains that a residential setting is necessary only for the provision of medically necessary services; as such, a residential setting is not a necessary component for the provision of FAPE. Alternatively, the District argues that, due to the abdication of responsibility of other state-based and/or county-based agencies, or other funding sources, it has been placed in a position to provide behavior health services (including a residential component) necessary for a provision of FAPE but which rightfully belong under the auspices of other state-based and/or county-based agencies, or other funding sources.
For the reasons set forth below, I find that a residential setting is required to provide a FAPE to the student.
Is a residential setting necessary for the student to receive a FAPE?