RG vs. Downingtown Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: RG

ODR #9162/08-09 KE

Date of Birth: Xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing: October 21, 2008 December 15, 2008 December 16, 2008 January 5, 2009 January 19, 2009 March 17, 2009

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Mr. and Mrs.

Downingtown Area School District 126 Wallace Avenue Downingtown, PA 19335

Representative:
David Thalheimer, Esquire 1831 Chestnut Street
Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Andria Saia, Esquire
1301 Mason’s Mill Business Park 1800 Byberry Road
Huntington Valley, PA 19006

Date Record Closed: April 20, 2009

Date of Decision: May 3, 2009

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D.

Background

Student is an xx-year-old eligible student who resides in the Downingtown Area School District (hereinafter District). Although Student attended school in the District for kindergarten and part of first grade, Student’s parents (hereinafter Parents) and the District came to an arrangement whereby Student was placed in the Private School (hereinafter Private School)1 with financial support from the District.

For the 2007-2008 school year the District offered Student a program and placement within the District. The Parents did not approve the District’s offer and unilaterally continued the Private School placement on their own. They filed for a due process hearing on August 8, 2008. The issue in this hearing, then, is whether or not the District is required to reimburse the Parents for Student’s tuition at Private School for the 2007- 2008 school year.2

Issues3

  1. Was the program and placement the Downingtown Area School District offered to Student for the 2007-2008 school year appropriate?
  2. If the program and placement the Downingtown Area School District offered to Student for the 2007-2008 school year was not appropriate, was the placement unilaterally chosen by Mr. and Mrs. appropriate?
  3. If the Downingtown Area School District did not offer Student an appropriate program and placement for the 2007-2008 school year, and the placement unilaterally chosen by Mr. and Mrs. was appropriate, are there equitable considerations that would serve to remove or reduce the District’s responsibility to reimburse the Parents for Student’s tuition for that school year?
RG-Downingtown-Area-ODRNo-9162-08-09-KE

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