Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: T. T.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Date of Hearing: 2/27/2015
ODR File No. 15632-14-15-KE
Parties to the Hearing:
Local Education Agency Khepera Charter School 926 W. Sedgley Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19132
Representative: Parent Attorney
Kevin Golembiewski Esq.
Law Office of David J. Berney 1628 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1000 Philadelphia, PA 19103 413-272-8278
David Berney Esq.
8 Penn Center
1628 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1000 Philadelphia, PA 19103 215-564-1030
Date Record Closed: March 11, 2015
Date of Decision: March 21, 2015
Hearing Officer: William Culleton Esq., CHO
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Student1 is thought to be an eligible child with a disability pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1401 et seq. (IDEA), and an individual with a disability protected by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 (section 504). Student currently is enrolled in a charter school (School) in the elementary grades.
Student’s custodial guardian and great aunt (Parent) asserts that the School failed to fulfill its “child find” obligations under both the IDEA and section 504, from the first day of school in the 2013-2014 school year until the date of the hearing in this matter. Parent asserts that the School failed to provide a timely, appropriate educational evaluation pursuant to Parent’s request, inappropriately failed to identify Student, and failed to offer or provide Student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Parent requests both compensatory and prospective relief.
The School, despite an appearance by its attorney in this matter, failed to appear by counsel at the hearing to enter a defense. It also failed to provide five day notice as required by the IDEA, 34 C.F.R. §300.512(a)(3). After hearing argument of counsel for Parent, I proceeded with the hearing, in order to protect the imminent interests of the Student, including the alleged need for prospective relief. Subsequently, I offered counsel for the School an opportunity to provide argument as to why I should hear evidence from the School; however, despite receiving my message offering that opportunity, the School’s counsel did not make any offer of proof or argument as to why I should permit the School to offer evidence.
The hearing was completed in one session. I conclude that the School failed to comply with its child find obligations under the IDEA and section 504 with regard to Student, as a result of which Student was deprived of a FAPE. I order the School to provide compensatory education to Student, to issue an Evaluation Report, and to convene an IEP meeting to provide Student with an IEP.
1. Did the School inappropriately fail to identify Student as a child with a disability, and thus fail to comply with its Child Find obligations under the IDEA and/or section 504, during the relevant period from the first day of school in the 2013-2014 school year until such time as the School should offer an appropriate IEP to Student?
2. Did the School inappropriately fail to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to Student during the relevant period, contrary to its obligations under the IDEA and/or section 504?
3. Should the hearing officer order the School to provide Student with compensatory education on account of all or any part of the relevant period pursuant to the IDEA and/or section 504?
4. Should the hearing officer order the School to issue an Evaluation Report, to convene an IEP team meeting or meeting to formulate a section 504 Service Agreement, to consider Student’s educational needs and to formulate an appropriate IEP and/or section 504 Service Agreement for Student?