VG vs. School District of Philadelphia

Due Process Hearing for VG

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

ODR File Number: 5661/05-06/LS

Dates of Hearing: September 26, 2005, October 31, 2005, December5, 2005, January 31, 2006

CLOSED HEARING

Parties: Ms.

School District of Philadelphia 440 N. Broad St., 3rd Flr. Philadelphia, PA 19130

Representative:

Tanya Alvarado, Esq. 30 Cassatt Ave. Berwyn, PA 19312

Mr. Kenneth Cooper, Esq.

Date Final Transcript/Exhibits Received: February 6, 2006

Date Closing Statements/Record Closure: *March 3, 2006

Date of Decision: March 18, 2006

Hearing Officer: Joy Waters Fleming, Esq.

*Request from counsel for an extended period of time for the submission of closing statements granted.

Discussion

The IDEA requires that states provide a “free appropriate public education” “FAPE” to all students who qualify for special education services. 20 U.S.C. §1412. In Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982), the U.S. Supreme Court held that this requirement is met by providing personalized instruction and support services to permit the child to benefit educationally from the instruction, providing the procedures set forth in the Act are followed. The Rowley standard is only met when a child’s program provides him or her with more than a trivial or de minimus educational benefit. Polk v. Central

Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16, 853 F.2d 171 (3rd Cir. 1988). This entitlement is delivered by way of the IEP, a detailed written statement arrived at by the IEP team which summarizes the child’s abilities, outlines goals for the child’s education, and specifies the services the child will receive. Oberti v. Board of Education, 995 F.2d 1204 (3d Cir. 1993). School districts are not required to provide the optimal level of services. Carlisle Area School District v. Scott P., supra. However, a program that confers only trivial or minimal benefit is not appropriate. Polk The appropriateness of the IEP is judged based on information known at the time it is drafted. Fuhrman v. East Hanover Board of Education, 993 F.2d 1031 (3d Cir. 1993). A school district bears the burden of proving the appropriateness of the program it has proposed. Oberti

Early in his academic career, Parents expressed concern to the District about Student’s reading and math difficulties. (FF. 2-4, 7) While repeating the third grade, the District performed an evaluation and determined Student eligible for special education because of a “language based learning disability primarily manifesting itself as a reading disorder.”(FF.4-6) At that time, the IEP team acknowledged Student needed to improve reading comprehension, word recognition, word analysis, grammar and his motivation for difficult tasks. (FF. 6) Five years later, Student needs have remained essentially unchanged and now include additional academic and behavioral issues.

Parents filed this request for due process on July 8, 2005 claiming that Student has been denied FAPE by the District since 1999 and seeking compensatory education.1

Issues

Was Student denied FAPE during the summer of 2004?

Was Student denied a free appropriate public education”FAPE” during the 2003-2004 school year?

Was Student denied a free appropriate public education during the 2004- 2005 school year?

Was Student denied FAPE during the summer of 2005?

If denied FAPE, is Student entitled to compensatory education/and reimbursement for tutoring and counseling?

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