SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER
Date of Birth: xx/xx/xxxx
Hearing Dates: March 16, November 16, November 20, 2009 and January 8, 2010
ODR File No.: 9727-08/09AS
School District: Council Rock School District
Council Rock School District
Parent Attorney: Ilene Young
Law Firm of Ilene Young
50 East Court Street Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901
School District Attorney: Sharon Montayne, Esquire. Sweet, Stevens, Katz & Williams, LLP
P.O. Box 5069
331 Butler Avenue
New Britian, Pennsylvania 18901
Date Record Closed: February 12, 2010
Decision Date: February 22, 2010
Hearing Officer: Gloria M. Satriale, Esquire
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This case concerns the appropriate placement for Student, an eligible 17 year old Student, who resides with his Parents in the Council Rock School District (hereinafter District) and who has been identified with a variety of diagnosis including a specific learning disability, ADHD and Bipolar Disorder. The Student has attended private schools for the entire length of his schooling with the exception of four (4) days in the very beginning of his eighth grade year when he attended his home school in the District. At the request of his Parents, the District evaluated the Student and developed an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), to which the Parents agreed, and the Student returned to the District for this brief period. Citing significant risk to the Student’s emotional well being, the Parents removed the Student from the District and returned him to his previous private school. The within Due Process ensued seeking tuition reimbursement for the unilateral private placement. As the initial and subsequent offerings of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) were appropriate to meet this Student’s need, the Parents are not entitled to reimbursement for the tuition of the private school. I find in favor of the DISTRICT.
The sole issue presented for consultation is whether the Student is entitled to reimbursement for private school tuition and transportation to and from the placement. A decision on this issue must be framed in a three (3) part analysis:
- Was the program and placement the District offered to the Student for the 2006- 2007 school year appropriate?
- If the program and placement the District offered to the Student for the 2006-2007 school year was not appropriate, was the placement unilaterally chosen by the Parents appropriate?
- If the District did not offer the Student an appropriate program and placement for the 2006-2007 school year, and the placement unilaterally chosen by Parents was appropriate, are there equitable considerations that would serve to remove or reduce the District’s responsibility to reimburse the Parents for the Students tuition for that school year?