SI vs. Propel Charter Schools

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: S. I.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing1: June 21, 2016 September 8, 2016 September 26, 2016 October 12, 2016

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case # 17599-1516AS

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Propel Charter Schools
3447 East Carson Street – Suite 200 Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Representative:

Christopher Elnicki, Esquire 428 Forbes Avenue / Suite 700 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Jordan Strassburger, Esquire Four Gateway Center – Suite 2200 444 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Date of Decision: October 31, 2016

Hearing Officer: Michael J. McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION

Student (hereinafter “student”)2 is a [mid-teen aged] student who attended Propel Charter Schools (“Charter School”). The parties dispute whether or not the student is eligible for special education as a student with a disability under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEIA”) and Pennsylvania charter school special education regulations (“Chapter 711”).3 Parent also brings the complaint under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”).4 The Charter School has multiple sites, and, for the relevant evidentiary period in this matter, the student attended a Charter School site over the course of the 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2015- 2016 school years.

Parent claims that the student should have been identified as a student with a disability when she shared with the Charter School a private evaluation report in the spring of 2014. As a result, parent claims the student was denied a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) for the remainder of the student’s attendance at the Charter School. Parent seeks compensatory education as a remedy.

The Charter School counters that, at all times over the course of the school years at issue, the student does not qualify as a student with a disability and therefore that it has no obligations to the student under IDEIA/Chapter 711. Consequently, the Charter School claims that no remedy is owed.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the student and family in terms of claims made under Section 504.

ISSUES

Should the student have been identified by the Charter School
as a student eligible
under the terms of IDEIA/Chapter 711?

Has the Charter School
failed to comply with its obligations, if any, under Section 504?

If the answer to either, or both,
of these questions is answered in the affirmative, is compensatory education owed to the student?

S-I-Propel-Charter-ODRNo-17599-1516AS

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