SM vs. Philadelphia School District

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION

Child’s Name: S.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Dates of Hearing: March 28, 2014 April 25, 2014 May 7, 2014 May 21, 2014 May 22, 2014 June 9, 2014

CLOSED HEARING

ODR Case #14512-1314KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Philadelphia School District 440 North Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19130

Representative:

Jennifer Sang, Esquire
David Berney, Esquire
8 Penn Center
1628 J.F.K. Boulevard / Suite 1000 Philadelphia, PA 19103

Michele Mintz, Esquire
Levin Legal Group
1301 Masons Mill Business Park 1800 Byberry Road / Suite 1301 Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Date Record Closed: June 30, 2014

Date of Decision: July 22, 2014

Hearing Officer: Jake McElligott, Esquire

INTRODUCTION

[Student] is [a pre-teenaged] student residing in the School District of Philadelphia (“District”). The parties agree that the student qualifies under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004 (“IDEA”)1 for specially designed instruction/related services as a student with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”). [Redacted.]2

The student attended District schools through the end of the 2012- 2013 school year. In the spring of 2013, the parties settled a special education dispute as of April 2, 2013.

As part of the settlement agreement, the parties undertook a series of mutual obligations. As the 2013-2014 school year approached, the parties could not agree on the educational program for the student. Ultimately, the student’s parents rejected the District’s recommended education program/placement and enrolled the student in a private educational placement for the 2013-2014 school year.

Parents claim that the individualized education plan (“IEP”) proposed by the District for the 2013-2014 school year was inappropriate, and filed the special education due process complaint that led to these proceedings. Parents seek compensatory education for the

period from April 2, 2013 through the end of the 2012-2013 school year (a period when the student was still enrolled at the District) and tuition reimbursement for the private resources utilized to fund the private placement for the 2013-2014 school year. Parents also claim that the District failed to provide appropriate [redacted].

The District counters that it provided a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) to the student for the period of the student’s enrollment from April 2, 2013 to the time the student dis-enrolled from the District and that the program proposed for the student for the 2013- 2014 school year is appropriate. As such, the District argues that the parents are not entitled to remedy.

For the reasons set forth below, I find that the District failed to provide FAPE to the student for the period of enrollment after April 2, 2013 and failed to propose an appropriate IEP for the 2013-2014 school year. Therefore, the parents are entitled to, respectively, compensatory education and reimbursement. Parents did not meet their burden, however, regarding claims related to inappropriate [redacted].

ISSUES

Did the District provide the student with FAPE for the period from April 3, 2013 through the end of the 2012-2013 school year?

If not, is the student entitled to compensatory education? Was the proposed IEP for the 2013-2014 school year appropriate?

If not, are parents entitled to reimbursement of the private resources utilized to fund a private placement for the 2013-2014 school year?

Is the student entitled to compensatory education for [redacted],
both in the 2012-2013 school year after April 2, 2013 and in the 2013-2014 school year?

S-M-Philadelphia-ODRNo-14512-1314KE

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