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CHAD SAVKA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/05/79)

decided: July 5, 1979.

CHAD SAVKA, A MINOR, BY EDWARD SAVKA, HIS GUARDIAN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, THE ALLEGHENY INTERMEDIATE UNIT AND THE DEER LAKES SCHOOL DISTRICT, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of In Re: the Educational Assignment of Chad S., a student in the Deer Lakes School District, Special Education Appeal No. 88.

COUNSEL

Gerald G. DeAngelis, with him Frank P. Paz, for petitioner.

Ernest N. Helling, Assistant Attorney General, with him Patricia A. Donovan, Deputy Attorney General, Chief Counsel, and William C. Andrews, for respondents.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 63]

Edward Savka (petitioner), on behalf of his minor son Chad, has appealed an order of the Secretary of Education (Secretary) approving the educational placement of Chad in the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) facility at Edgewood Elementary School (Edgewood). We affirm.*fn1

Chad Savka, a 7-year-old hearing-impaired child, has attended DePaul Institute's (DePaul) preschool program for exceptional children since he was 2 1/2 years of age. In May 1977, upon completion of kindergarten, Chad's records were forwarded to AIU for a determination of whether Chad could be placed at facilities

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 64]

    within either AIU or Deer Lakes School District (District), of which petitioner is a resident. AIU decided that its facility for the hearing-impaired at Edgewood could provide Chad an appropriate education. AIU therefore recommended that Chad be transferred to Edgewood, beginning with the 1977-78 school year. Proper notice of its recommendation was sent to petitioner.

Opposed to the transfer, petitioner requested a parents' placement conference to review AIU's decision. Unable to reach an accommodation with AIU or the District, petitioner requested a due process hearing pursuant to 22 Pa. Code § 13.32(9). See also 22 Pa. Code § 13.31. A hearing was held on October 12 and 25, 1977 before Dr. S. Robert Marziano, Assistant Executive Director of the Beaver County Intermediate Unit, the designated hearing examiner.

At the hearing, AIU presented Chad's records from DePaul, which consisted of his educational progress reports for the 1975-76 and 1976-77 school years, several audiological evaluations, a psychological evaluation dated April 1, 1977, the results of an April 25, 1977 otological examination, and a classroom report by one of Chad's teachers at DePaul, dated April 19, 1977. AIU also presented several witnesses, including the supervisor of AIU's hearing-impaired program, a master teacher of the hearing-impaired, and Chad's probable classroom instructor, who described Edgewood's program for deaf children in general and for Chad in particular. In addition, testimony was presented that Chad could readily adjust and adapt to a transfer to Edgewood. Petitioner, in turn, presented testimony concerning the appropriateness of DePaul and the potential detriment to Chad's health and welfare if he were transferred at that time.

The hearing examiner, in his report dated November 10, 1977, found that ...


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