SK vs. Upper Moreland Twp. School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

Child’s Name: S. K.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing:
4/28/11, 6/8/11, 6/9/11, 9/23/11, 10/24/11, 10/28/11, 11/9/11, 11/11/11, 12/16/11, 1/19/12

CLOSED HEARING

ODR File No. 1548-1011AS

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

Upper Moreland Twp. School District 2900 Terwood Road
Willow Grove, PA 19090

Representative:

Frederick M. Stanczak, Esquire 179 North Broad Street Doylestown, PA 18901

Jane M. Williams, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLP 331 E. Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: March 17, 2012

Date of Decision: March 31, 2012

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is a high school-aged student in the Upper Moreland Township School District (District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)2 on the basis of autism and an intellectual disability. Student’s Parents filed a due process complaint against the District in March 2011, asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,3 as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes, for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years and continuing through the present.

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening over ten sessions,4 at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The Parents sought to establish that the District failed to provide Student with FAPE throughout the time period in question, and that Student requires a residential placement. The District maintained that its special education program, as offered and implemented, was appropriate for Student.

For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the Parents on a portion of their claims.

ISSUES

  1. Whether Student’s program and placement during the 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12 school years, including reading instruction, was and is appropriate for Student; and
  2. If it was and is not appropriate, is Student entitled to compensatory education and, if so, in what form and amount; and
  3. If it is not appropriate, does Student require a residential placement?
S-K-Upper-Moreland-Twp-ODRNo-1548-1011AS

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