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WOODS SCHOOLS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/08/86)

decided: September 8, 1986.

THE WOODS SCHOOLS, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND CENTRAL DAUPHIN SCHOOL DISTRICT, RESPONDENTS



Original Jurisdiction in case of The Woods Schools v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Education and Central Dauphin School District.

COUNSEL

Paul L. Stevens, Curtin and Heefner, for petitioner.

Gregory R. Neuhauser, Senior Deputy Attorney General, with him, Andrew S. Gordon, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Chief, Litigation Section, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent, Department of Education.

Michael I. Levin, Cleckner and Fearen, for respondent, Central Dauphin School District.

Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 376]

Before us are the preliminary objections of Respondents Department of Education (Department) and the Central Dauphin School District (Central Dauphin) to a petition for review filed to our original jurisdiction by The Woods Schools (Woods). That petition requested that this Court order the Department and/or Central Dauphin to initiate special education due process proceedings to disenroll student Aron R. or, in the alternative, order Central Dauphin to guarantee full and complete payment for Aron R.'s tuition and maintenance.*fn1

[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 377]

Woods, a non-profit corporation which operates a residential treatment facility for youth and adults in Langhorne, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is an approved private school*fn2 for purposes of educating "exceptional children". See Sections 1371-1382 of the Public School Code of 1949 (Code), Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. §§ 13-1371 -- 13-1382. Aron R., a resident of Central Dauphin, is an exceptional child*fn3 who has been enrolled at Woods since March, 1985.

The petition filed December 9, 1985, alleges that Woods is not receiving and has not yet received the "full" cost of Aron R.'s program. The petition further alleges that Aron R. was admitted upon the express condition that Central Dauphin and the Dauphin County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Unit (Dauphin County MH/MR), bear the full cost of Aron R.'s program at Woods.*fn4 In August of 1985, "believing" that it

[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 378]

    would not be "timely or fully" reimbursed by either the Department, Central Dauphin or the Dauphin County MH/MR, Woods requested that Central Dauphin, the Dauphin County MH/MR and Aron R.'s parents find an alternate placement for Aron R.

It is further averred that no alternate placement was found by October of 1985. Woods then requested that either the Department or Central Dauphin initiate due process proceedings in accord with Section 171.18 of the Standards for Approved Private Schools (Standards), 22 Pa. code § 171.18, which provides that "[a]n approved private school may not expel, suspend or disenroll a student assigned to the school by a school district until notice and the opportunity for a hearing have been given in accordance with Chapter 13 (relating to special education)." ...


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