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GATEWAY SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/25/89)

decided: May 25, 1989.

GATEWAY SCHOOL DISTRICT, PETITIONER,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, RESPONDENT



PETITION FOR REVIEW (DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION)

COUNSEL

Thomas M. Rutter, Jr., Sol., Donald J. Palmer, Goehring, Rutter & Boehm, Pittsburgh, for petitioner.

John Pushinsky, Pittsburgh (Notice of Intervention), for Eric L., Intervenor.

Debra R. Cruel, Yvonne Okonieski, Ernest N. Helling, Asst. Chief Counsel, Jay P. Heubert, Chief Counsel, Harrisburg, for Dept. of Educ.

Craig, Doyle and Palladino, JJ.

Author: Palladino

[ 126 Pa. Commw. Page 258]

Gateway School District (Petitioner) appeals from an order of the Secretary of the Department of Education (Secretary) adopting the recommendation of a hearing officer that Petitioner develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP), for Eric L., which includes college level courses. For the reasons set forth below, we quash Petitioner's appeal.

This case arose when, in October of 1987, Eric L., a gifted student in the Gateway School District, and his parents requested an educational due process hearing. Eric was then attending the twelfth grade during the 1987-1988 school year. He had participated in Petitioner's gifted program since he was in first grade.*fn1 The hearing officer found that the last IEP which included mathematics was designed by Petitioner when Eric was in sixth grade. Finding of Fact No. 5. The hearing officer further found that by the time Eric was in eighth grade, he had completed all of the mathematics courses appropriate for him that were offered by Petitioner. Finding of Fact No. 5. As a result, Eric began attending college-level mathematics classes and has since accumulated approximately thirty (30) credits. Eric's parents paid his tuition and arranged for his transportation to classes, while Petitioner adjusted Eric's high school class schedule in order to accommodate his attendance at the college classes.

At the beginning of the 1987-1988 school year, Petitioner

[ 126 Pa. Commw. Page 259]

    designed an IEP*fn2 for Eric, which provided goals and objectives in the areas of language arts and vocabulary, but not mathematics because neither Eric nor his parents requested such a math program. Thereafter, Eric and his parents requested an educational due process hearing*fn3 for the purpose of determining whether the grades which Eric had earned in his college math courses should be included by Petitioner when computing Eric's grade point average. Eric and his parents also requested Petitioner to provide Eric with a mathematics program in his IEP.

After several hearings, the special education hearing officer issued a recommendation on March 24, 1988 directing Petitioner to develop an IEP for Eric which would include the college math courses he was taking or was scheduled to take during the 1987-1988 school year. In addition, the hearing officer recommended that the grades which Eric had earned or would earn in those courses be averaged into his grade point average. The hearing officer further recommended that Petitioner not be required to average into Eric's grade point average the grades received in his college courses prior to the 1987-1988 school year.

Petitioner filed timely exceptions to the hearing officer's recommended decision, challenging only that portion of the decision directing it [Petitioner] to average Eric's grades from the 1987-1988 college courses into his high school grade point average. By letter dated May 25, 1988, Petitioner filed "amended" exceptions, challenging the hearing officer's ...


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