RL vs. Norristown Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: R.L.

ODR #00605/09-10 KE

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: April 13, 2010
June 21, 2010
June 22, 2010
June 29, 2010 (telephonic)

OPEN HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: [Parent[s]

Norristown Area School District 401 N. Whitehall Road Norristown, Pennsylvania 19403

Representative:
Giovanni Campbell, Esquire
100 S. Broad Street Suite 1530 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19110

Scott Wolpert, Esquire
400 Maryland Drive PO Box 7544 Fort Washington, Pennsylvania 19034

Date Record Closed: July 18, 2010

Date of Decision: July 31, 2010

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official

Background and Procedural History

Student1 is an eligible student with a classification of autism and speech/language impairment who was formerly enrolled in the Norristown Area School District (hereinafter District); the Parents withdrew Student from the District and enrolled Student in a cyber charter school on August 6, 2008 prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. Student’s mother and father (hereinafter Parents) requested this hearing on December 31, 2009 to address their concerns that Student had been denied a free appropriate public education for the 2006-2007 and the 2007-2008 school years.2

The District sought the application of the two-year statute of limitations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. The Parents asserted that one or both exceptions to the IDEA’s regulatory time limits existed. The first hearing session was exclusively devoted to testimony regarding whether the exceptions were applicable. At the conclusion of the testimony this hearing officer held that neither exception existed, and explained her reasoning on the record [NT 207-217], ruling that this matter would cover the period from the beginning of January 2008 to the end of the school year in June 2008. Although counsel were allowed considerable time to negotiate a settlement in light of the relatively brief potential recovery period at issue, the parties could not come to an agreement and the hearing was reconvened.

For the reasons presented below I find for the District.

Issues

  1. Did the District deny Student a free appropriate public education from the beginning of January 2008 to the end of the school year in June 2008?3
  2. If the District denied Student a free appropriate public education, is the District required to provide compensatory education to Student and if so in what kind and what amount?
R-L-Norristown-Area-ODRNo-00605-09-10-KE

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