ZS vs. West Chester Area School District

PENNSYLVANIA
SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER

DECISION
DUE PROCESS HEARING

Name of Child: Z.S.

ODR #5794/05-06 AS

Date of Birth: xx/xx/xx

Dates of Hearing:
January 10, 2006 (9:00 am – 4:00 pm): February 24, 2006 (9:00 am – 4:30 pm) March 7, 2006 (9:00 am – 4:00 pm) May 1, 2006 (9:00 am – 5:45 pm) May 2, 2006 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm)

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing: Parent(s)

West Chester Area School District Spellman Administration Building 829 Paoli Pike
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19380

Representative:
Tanya Alvarado, Esquire McAndrews Law Firm
30 Cassatt Avenue
Berwyn, Pennsylvania 19312

Hollie John, Esquire
Sweet, Stevens, Tucker & Katz P.O. Box 5069
New Britain, Pennsylvania 18901

Last Transcript Received: May 8, 2006

Record Closed May 30, 20061

Date of Decision: June 9, 2006

Hearing Officer: Linda M. Valentini, Psy.D.

Background

Student is a xx-year-old 11th grade student who resides in the West Chester Area School District (hereinafter District) and who has been attending the [Redacted] Charter School since the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year. Prior to enrolling in the charter school, Student attended schools in the District; the most recent being [Redacted] High School for 9th and 10th grades.

On August 22, 2005 Mr. and Mrs. (hereinafter Parents) requested this hearing to address concerns under the IDEA and Section 504 and under PA Chapters 14 [and] 15 as articulated in the Issues section below.

Prior to the convening of the hearing the Parents submitted a letter requesting the hearing officer to order an independent educational evaluation (IEE) (J-1). The hearing officer denied this request (J-2). By letter the Parents articulated their position regarding assignments of the burdens of proof (J-3). The District provided a letter and a brief regarding limiting the claims (J-4). The hearing officer provided a letter regarding the burden of proof (J-5). The Parents provided a letter and a brief regarding limitations on the claims (J-6). The hearing officer ruled on limiting the claims (J-7).

This hearing officer assigned the burden of proof to the Parents on all issues, and limited the claims under the IDEA/Chapter 14 and Section 504/Chapter 15 to two years following the IDEIA (IDEA 2004), from the date of the hearing request.

Issues2

  1. [Redacted.]
  2. [Redacted.]
  1. Were the evaluations of Student performed by the School District between August 23, 2003 and August 23, 2005 for IDEA/Chapter 14 and/or 504/Chapter 15 appropriate?
  2. If the evaluations of Student performed by the School District between August 23, 2003 and August 23, 2005 for IDEA/Chapter 14 and/or 504/Chapter 15 were not appropriate, is she entitled to an independent educational evaluation?
  3. Was Student an eligible student under the IDEA/Chapter 14 and/or a protected handicapped student under Section 504/Chapter 15 between August 23, 2003 and August 23, 2005 (2003-2004 and 2004-2005 school years) and to what extent, if any, did the District violate its Child Find obligation?
Z-S-West-Chester-Area-ODRNo-5794-05-06-AS

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