ST vs. Central Bucks School District

SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

Hearing Officer Decision

Hearing for ST
ODR Number 8133/07-08 AS

Birthdate: xx/xx/xx

Hearing Dates: November 1, 2007 January 3, 2008 January 4, 2008 January 7, 2008 January 8, 2008 January 9, 2008

February 1, 2008 February 15, 2008 February 18, 2008 February 21, 2008 March 27, 2008 April 21, 2008

Final Closings received. May 10, 2008

Closed Hearing

Parties to the Hearing: Parents:

Ilene Young, Esq.
Law Offices of Ilene Young, Esq. 50 East Court Street. Main Floor Doylestown, PA 18901

School:
Central Bucks School District 16 Weldon Drive Doylestown, PA 18901

Joanne Sommer, Esq. Eastburn and Gray
60 E. Court Street Doylestown, PA 18901

Final Closings Received : May 10, 2008
Date of Decision : June 9, 2008
Hearing Officer : Joseph G. Rosenfeld, Ph.D.

I. Background

Student was born on xx/xx/xx and lives within the boundaries of the Central Bucks School District (SD). Age wise, she would be considered the equivalent to an eighth grade student who had repeated one grade. Student entered the SD in the second half of the 2002-2003 school year. She had been in parochial school placements prior to that time and entered the SD as a nonreader. She had no mathematic skills and minimal language skills. In the fourth and fifth grade years she attended the [redacted] Elementary School where she also repeated the fifth grade. She started the 2006-2007 school year in the special education program at the [redacted] Middle School (MS) but in February of 2007 the parents removed her from that school and placed her in the Academy in [town redacted], Pennsylvania where she remained until almost the end of this hearing.

Student has been diagnosed as having Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by a complex pattern of cognitive strengths and deficiencies. She has also been diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Student began attending classes in the SD in the 2002-2003 school year. At that time, the parents shared information about Student and Williams Syndrome with the SD. They stressed to the district their strong desire that Student learn to read. The parents repeatedly requested that Student be provided with a scientifically based intensive reading program. They shared with the SD the evaluations of their own experts. After 5 years in the district the parents believed that Student did not make even minimal progress in reading and therefore removed her from the school and unilaterally placed her in the Academy.

The SD claims that Student did make progress, albeit slowly based on her profile. While at Elementary School she received direct reading instruction, more than an hour a day one-on-one from Mr. B, her special education teacher and received a scientifically based reading program. She made progress and was reading at a second to third grade reading level. Scientifically based reading instruction was continued at the MS. The SD program included mathematics, social studies, science, independent living and functional skills that they considered important in addition to reading.

The parents are requesting reimbursement for their tuition payments to the Academy, the cost of transportation and the payment of their experts because they believe that FAPE1 was not provided. The SD believes the opposite. The parents have limited their claim from the 2005-2006 school year to the present2 (NT 12)3

III. Issues

  1. Has the Central Bucks School District had an appropriate program for Student from the 2005-2006 School Year until she left the program?
  2. Is the Academy program an appropriate program for Student?
  3. Are the parents entitled to tuition reimbursement and reimbursement for the cost of their transportation expenses?
  4. Is there an entitlement for compensatory education for Student?
  5. Are the parents entitled to reimbursement for their expenses of obtaining a school neuropsychological evaluation?
ST-Central-Bucks-ODRNo-8133-07-08-AS

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