SM vs. Hempfield School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: S.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 00856-0910 AS

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Hempfield School District 201 West Third Street Williamsport, PA 17701-6409

Representative:

Vivian B. Narehood, Esquire Gibbel, Kraybill & Hess, LLP 41 East Orange Street Lancaster, PA 17602

Jane M. Williams, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams LLP 331 Butler Avenue
P.O. Box 5069
New Britain, PA 18901

Dates of Hearing: July 6, 2010, August 18, 2010, September 21, 2010, September 22, 2010

Record Closed: September 29, 2010

Date of Decision: October 14, 2010

Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student is a teen-aged eligible resident of the Hempfield School District (District), presently in the eighth grade at a private school, the [Private School]. (NT 5-25 to 7-3, 25-10 to 26-6.) Student is identified with Autism and Specific Learning Disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA). (P-15.)

Student’s Mother and Father, Parents, filed a Complaint Notice (complaint) requesting due process on March 22, 2010. Parents request a finding that the District failed to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the Student during the period from March 22, 2008 until the first hearing session in this matter, July 6, 2010. Parents also request that I order the District to provide compensatory education for failure to provide appropriate educational services from March 22, 2008 to the last day of school in the 2008-2009 school year, and tuition reimbursement for the Student’s attendance at the Private School for the full 2009-2010 school year. The District asserts that it provided a FAPE at all relevant times.

The hearing was conducted and concluded in four sessions on July 6, 2010, August 18, 2010, September 21, 2010 and September 22, 2010. The transcript was received as complete on September 29, 2010, and the record closed on that day.

ISSUES

  1. During the period from March 22, 2008 to July 6, 2010, did the District fail to offer or implement an appropriate Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?
  2. Was the District’s Re-evaluation Report dated November 2, 2009 appropriate?
  3. During the 2009-2010 school year, was the Private School an appropriate placement for the Student?
  4. Should the hearing officer order the District to provide compensatory education to the Student for deprivation of a FAPE from March 22, 2008 to the last day of school in the 2008-2009 school year?
  5. Should the hearing officer order the District to pay tuition reimbursement for the Student’s tuition at the Private School during the 2009-2010 school year?
  6. Should the hearing officer order the District to reimburse the District for the independent educational evaluation dated February 1, 2010?
  7. Should the hearing officer award prospective relief with respect to the remainder of the 2010-2011 school year?
S-M-Hempfield-ODRNo-00856-0910-AS

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