Law Center to SRC: Reorganization Plan Must Explain How Special Education Will Be Delivered

In testimony on June 21, Law Center Attorney Sonja Kerr along with several other special education advocates urged the School Reform Commission (SRC), to consider how the reorganization and transition proposals for the next school year will affect the 20% of the students in the district with disabilities. The district’s special education plan lacks detail and still leaves questions unanswered: Who is addressing the needs of students with Specific Learning Disabilities? Who will be able to hire special education staff? How will reorganization impact the enrollment practices of students with severe disabilities in charter schools? A key issue in the testimony were concerns about the level of school nursing services within the district. The school district plans to employ 184 nurses to serve 390 schools or about 200,000 students. Although technically in compliance with state regulations, this puts significant pressure on nurses, and could cost the district more in the long run with costly trips to the hospital for its students. The SRC agreed that these were legitimate concerns and agreed that it should develop a strategic plan for special education. Overall, it was a constructive meaning and we look forward to increased dialogue with the school district.