Student vs. School District Wallingford-Swarthmore

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

DECISION
ODR No. 9882/08-09 LS

Child’s Name: STUDENT
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx
Dates of Hearing: 4/17/09, 7/20/09, 7/21/09, 8/19/09, 10/22/09, 10/26/09, 11/2/09, 11/11/09

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parents

School District Wallingford-Swarthmore 101 Plush Mill Road Wallingford, PA 19086

Representative:

Parent Attorney:
Catherine Reisman, Esq.
Reisman Carolla, LLP
19 Chestnut Street
Haddonfield, New Jersey 08033-1810

School District Attorney
Karl Romberger, Esquire
Fox, Rothschild, O’Brien & Frankel 1250 S. Broad Street Box Suite 1000 Lansdale, PA 19446

Date Record Closed: November 25, 2009

Date of Decision: December 10, 2009

Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case concerns an elementary school aged child eligible for IDEA services due to a complex cluster of conditions, including epilepsy, speech apraxia and sensory-motor problems that impact Student’s education. The child is currently enrolled in a private school funded by the District pursuant to a placement order issued in this matter on September 8, 2009, after the fourth hearing session. The first hearing session ended in an agreement between the parties for 2009 ESY services, which subsequently engendered an additional dispute over whether either of the parties breached their agreement or frustrated its purpose with respect to a reading tutor. The parties agreed that the issues concerning the ESY agreement should also be determined by the hearing officer on the basis of evidence produced as part of the record in this case.

In addition to full reimbursement for ESY services for 2009 and a private school placement for the 2009/2010 school year, Parents requested compensatory education for the child’s first grade year (2007/2008); for six sessions of physical therapy in a swimming pool not provided as part of the allegedly agreed ESY services in 2008; for the 2008/2009 school year until March 9, 2009 and reimbursement for [[Program redacted]] reading instruction from March 10—July 14, 2009.

Soon after receiving the order granting Parents’ request for a private school placement, the District moved for recusal of the hearing officer, which was denied by order dated September 23, 2009. The interim orders granting Parents’ request for a private placement for the 2009/2010 school year and denying the District’s motion to recuse are attached to, and incorporated into this decision, as Appendix I and Appendix II, respectively.

Based upon the entire record of seven (7) substantive hearing sessions and the first hearing session, which memorialized the parties’ ESY agreement for the summer of 2009, Parents will be awarded the limited compensatory education they requested for the summer of 2008. Additional compensatory education will be awarded from October 2008 through March 9, 2009. Parents will also receive reimbursement for 120 hours of reading instruction by [Program redacted] for the last 12 weeks of the 2008/2009 school year, and reimbursement for a maximum of 80 hours of reading instruction received by [Program redacted] from the end of the 2008/2009 school year to the first day of the 2009/2010 school year, minus $2,250.00, the amount of the partial payment ordered on the record at the conclusion of the August 19, 2009 hearing session, provided, of course, that such payment has already been made.

ISSUES

  1. Is Student entitled to an award of compensatory education for any of the periods listed in ¶¶ a-c below, and if so, in what amount and in what form?
  1. The 2007/2008 school year (1st grade);
  2. The summer of 2008 (ESY) nd
  3. The 2008/2009 school year (2 grade)
  1. Are Student ’s Parents entitled to reimbursement for the costs of reading instruction provided to Student by [Program redacted] from March 10, 2009— July 14, 2009?
  2. Are Student ’s Parents entitled to reimbursement for the unpaid costs of reading instruction provided to Student by [Program redacted] as ESY services during the summer of 2009 by reason of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District’s breach of the ESY settlement agreement of April 17, 2009?
Student-Wallingford-Swarthmore-ODRNo-9882-08-09-LS

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