The opinion of the court was delivered by: Munley, District Judge.
Before the court for disposition is the defendants' motion to
dismiss this action that was brought under the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act. 20 U.S.C.A. § 1400 et seq. The
plaintiff is Kristi H., a minor by and through her parent and
next friend, Virginia H., and the defendants are Tri-Valley
School District and Robert E. Franklin in his official capacity
as Superintendent of the Tri-Valley School District. The matter
is ripe for disposition as it has been fully briefed and argued.
In order to resolve disputes that may arise under the IDEA
between the parents and the school district, each state must
establish a procedure involving an administrative review
hearing. This hearing is called a "due process" hearing.
20 U.S.C. § 1415(f)-(i). Pennsylvania has implemented a two-tiered
system where the local school district conducts an initial
review. If appealed, the local district's decision is reviewed
by a three-member Special Education Appeals Panel. 22 Pa.Code §
14.64. According to the IDEA, a civil action can only be brought
in a federal district court after this two-tiered system has
been exhausted. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2)(A).
If it is found that a school district has failed in its duty
to provide "free appropriate education," the student may be
awarded compensatory education. Compensatory education is an
extension of the student's entitlement to a free appropriate
education beyond the age of twenty-one to compensate for
deprivations of that right before the student turned twenty-one.
Carlisle Area School v. Scott P., 62 F.3d 520, 536 (3d Cir.
Kristi H., plaintiff in the instant case, was seventeen years
old at the time of the filing of the complaint. She lives with
her mother, Virginia H., within the geographical boundary of the
Tri-Valley School District. Plaintiff is mentally retarded, and
the defendants recognize that she is eligible for special
education services under IDEA. Compl. ¶ 4.
Plaintiffs educational history is as follows: She attended
kindergarten classes in a segregated center with only disabled
children. The center was run by the Schuylkill County
Intermediate Unit. Compl. ¶ 9. The Schuylkill County
Intermediate Unit is a special school district that covers and
operates special education programs for the defendant and other
surrounding school districts in Schuylkill County. Id. at n.
After kindergarten, and for the years 1990 through 1998,
plaintiff was placed in an Intermediate Unit operated "life
skills" classroom, which was also segregated. It was also
located outside of the Tri-Valley School District. Compl. ¶ 10.
Plaintiffs mother was not satisfied with the education her
daughter was receiving. Accordingly, on March 25, 1999, she
requested a special education due process hearing to address the
district's failure to provide an appropriate free education.
Compl. ¶ 14.
Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs
complaint pursuant to F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Defendant's motion
raises the following two issues: 1) whether a one year effective
"statute of limitations" for compensatory education claims
exists under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
and 2) whether plaintiff has exhausted administrative remedies
under the IDEA, or whether exhaustion is necessary, concerning
compensatory education for the school years 1994-95 to 1996-97.
We shall address each issue seriatim.
When a 12(b)6 motion is filed, the sufficiency of a
complaint's allegations are tested. The issue is whether the
facts alleged in the complaint, if true, support a claim upon
which relief can be granted. In deciding a 12(b)6 motion, the
court must accept as true all factual allegations in the
complaint and give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable
inferences that can fairly be drawn therefrom, and view them in