SM vs. Delaware Valley School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

Child’s Name: S.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: March 4, 2014 April 28, 2014 June 5, 2014

CLOSED HEARING
ODR File Nos. 14550-1314KE and 14606-1314KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Delaware Valley School District 258 Route 6 and 209
Milford, PA 18337

Representative:
Heather M. Hulse, Esquire McAndrews Law Offices 400 Spruce Street, Suite 300 Scranton, PA 18503

Anne E. Hendricks, Esquire Levin Legal Group
1301 Masons Mill Business Park 1800 Byberry Road

Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Date Record Closed: June 25, 2014

Date of Decision: July 11, 2014

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

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is a late teenaged student in the Delaware Valley School District (District) who is provided with services pursuant to a Chapter 15 Service Agreement/Section 504 Plan.2 The District filed a due process complaint after Student’s Parents requested an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense, seeking a determination that its evaluation was appropriate under the law. Student’s Parents also filed a due process complaint against the District, asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)3 and Section 504, as well as the federal and state regulations implementing those statutes.

The cases were consolidated4 and proceeded to a due process hearing convening over three sessions, at which both parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. The District sought to defend its November 2013 evaluation of Student, maintaining that Student was not eligible under the IDEA and that its educational program, as implemented, was appropriate for Student. The Parents sought to establish that the District erroneously failed to identify Student as eligible under the IDEA, as well as to provide Student with FAPE throughout the time period in question.

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

ISSUES

1. Whether the District’s November 2013 special education evaluation of Student was appropriate;

2. If the District’s evaluation was not appropriate, whether the Parents and Student are entitled to an IEE at public expense to include a psychoeducational and speech and language evaluation;

3. Whether the District failed to provide Student with FAPE for the time period beginning on February 12, 2014 through the present; and

4. If the District did not provide FAPE, whether Student is entitled to compensatory education and, if so, in what form and amount.

S-M-Delaware-Valley-ODRNo-14550-1314KE-and-14606-1314KE

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