SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER
DUE PROCESS HEARING
Name of Child: S.S.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: February 25, 2013 April 16, 2013
Parties to the Hearing: Parents
Quakertown Community School District 100 Commerce Drive
Quakertown, PA 18951
Representative: Pro Se
Christina Stephanos, Esquire Sweet, Stevens, Katz and Williams 331 Butler Avenue
New Britain, PA 18601
Date Record Closed: April 28, 2013
Date of Decision: May 3, 2013
Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D., CHO Certified Hearing Official
Student is a resident of the District and is eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]. Pursuant to a previous parental request for a due process hearing, the parties, both represented by counsel, entered into negotiations with the intent of reaching a settlement.
The District’s former attorney drafted an agreement [Agreement One] that she believed contained the provisions she and the Parents’ former attorney had negotiated, and sent it to the Parents’ former attorney. The Parents’ former attorney in consultation with the Parents1 then revised, retyped and reprinted the agreement [Agreement Two], and after the Parents signed it Student’s mother delivered the document to the District office. Believing that the document received from the Parents was the document prepared by their attorney, and unaware that it had been revised, the District put the document before the School Board which approved it. Only later did the fact that the agreement had been revised come to light.
The Parents hold that Agreement Two, executed by themselves and the School Board, is a valid settlement agreement and should be implemented. The District contends that because Agreement Two was a revision of Agreement One done without notification, it is not a valid settlement agreement, and that Agreement One is the only binding agreement that exists between the parties. Alternatively, the District posits that there is no valid settlement agreement.
For the reasons presented below I find that no settlement agreement exists between the parties, as neither Agreement One nor Agreement Two is valid.
Does a valid settlement agreement between the School District and the Parents exist?