SL vs. School District Exeter Township

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 15850-1415AS

Child’s Name: S.L.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 3/23/15, 4/13/15, 4/14/15

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parents Parent[s]

School District Exeter Township 200 Elm Street Reading, PA 19606

Representative:

Parent Attorney
Leah Snyder Batchis, Esquire Batchis & Nestle, LLC
The Special Education Law Group Two Bala Plaza, Suite 300
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

School District Attorney
Katie Metcalfe, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams 331 Butler Avenue, P.O. Box 5069 New Britain, PA 18901

Date Record Closed: May 22, 2015

Date of Decision: June 2, 2015

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student in this case is a high school age eligible resident of the District who has attended private schools chosen by Parents, but at District expense, since 3rd grade.

For the current school year, the District sought to return Student to the public school when the most recent settlement agreement between the parties expired. Parents objected, contending that a public school placement would be detrimental due to Student’s fragile emotional state. In their due process complaint, Parents sought private school tuition and transportation costs for the current and next school year, and reimbursement for the costs of private evaluations.

Based on the record produced at a three session hearing in March and April 2015, Parents have established their entitlement to private school tuition for the current year but not for 2015/2016.

ISSUES

  1. Did the School District timely propose an IEP for the 2014/2015 school year that appropriately addresses all of Student’s disability-related and other educational needs, including an appropriate plan for Student’s successful transition from private to public school?
  2. If the District’s proposed IEP is appropriate but was not timely proposed, was the School District’s delay in developing the proposed IEP justified in light of all the circumstances?
  3. If the District’s proposed IEP is not appropriate, should the District be required to pay Student’s private school tuition and transportation costs for the current school year, in that the private school is appropriate for Student and there are no equitable reasons to deny or reduce tuition reimbursement?
  4. If tuition reimbursement is denied for the entire school year, is Student entitled to an award of partial tuition reimbursement, or of compensatory education, from the first day the 2014/2015 school year opened in the District through the date the District provided Parents with a NOREP for an appropriate District placement?
  5. If tuition reimbursement for the current school year is awarded, is there a factual/legal basis for ordering the District to pay Student’s private school tuition for the 2015/2016 school year?
  6. Should the School District be required to reimburse Parents for the cost of one or more independent educational evaluations (IEEs) of Student that Parents obtained?
S-L-Exeter-Township-ODRNo-15850-1415AS

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