TC vs. Belle Vernon Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION

Child’s Name: T.C.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

Date of Hearing: December 4, 2013

CLOSED HEARING

ODR File No. 14452-1314KE

Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]

Belle Vernon Area School District 270 Crest Avenue
Belle Vernon, PA 15012

Representative:

Lilian A. Akin, Esquire 3510 Gerber Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Aimee Rankin Zundel, Esquire Law Offices of Ira Weiss
445 Fort Pitt Boulevard, Suite 503 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Date Record Closed: December 14, 2013

Date of Decision: December 26, 2013

Hearing Officer: Cathy A. Skidmore, M.Ed., J.D.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Student1 is an elementary school-aged student residing in the Belle Vernon Area School District (hereafter District) who is eligible for special education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).2 Student’s Parents filed a due process complaint against the District in November 2013, asserting that it denied Student a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) under the IDEA from the time it issued a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) near the beginning of the 2013-14 school year to the present.

The case proceeded to a due process hearing convening in one session at which the parties presented evidence in support of their respective positions. Commendably, counsel for the parties agreed to a number of stipulated facts over which there was no dispute.3 In presenting evidence, the Parent sought to establish that the District failed to provide Student with FAPE in its proposed means of transporting Student to a new private placement outside of the District boundaries; and the District maintained that its transportation proposal was appropriate for Student based on information known to it at the time of the NOREP.

For the reasons set forth below, I find that neither the transportation proposal offered by the District, nor that suggested by the Parents, is adequate to meet Student’s needs. The parties will be directed to take specific action to develop an appropriate plan for transporting Student to and from school.

ISSUES

  1. Whether the transportation to the agreed-upon private placement as proposed by the District is appropriate for Student’s needs; and
  2. If it was not, whether the Student is entitled to compensatory education.
T-C-Belle-Vernon-Area-ODRNo-14452-1314KE

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