Post originally submitted in writing to Board of Education on 6/24/21. Edited 6/27/21 in response to Local Plan presentation and to provide sources.
The Coalition for Students with Disabilities (CSWD) appreciates the leadership of Christine Baeta, Dr. Sadie Hedegard, and Geovanni Linares.
The Coalition submitted comments to the Board on May 20, 2021 as to the requirements for the Special Education Local Plan planning process. In fact, this was not our first comment on local planning for special education. Over the past 10 years we have worked to create an awareness on this Board that special education is a part of this district and the Board is responsible for student outcomes. The Board must be well informed when considering whether to approve the plan. However, year-after-year we have seen plans rubberstamped with little-to-no understanding on issues or where the money is going. You as SCUSD’s Board must well-versed in this area and ensure that special education goals and spending are appropriate and transparent.
In our May 20 comment, we conveyed that the Local Plan for special education "must be developed and updated cooperatively by a committee of representative special and general education teachers and administrators selected by the groups they represent; and with the participation of parent member(s) from the community advisory committee (CAC), or parents selected by the CAC".
The Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) (this district) is responsible for making certain there is adequate and effective participation and communication. The Local Planning Process also includes a schedule of “regular consultations regarding policy and budget development” with the CAC and other stakeholders. [30 EC Section 56205 (a)(12)(E)]
Revisions to the Local Plan Governance and Administration, Section B, must be reviewed by the CAC, county office of education (COE), and must be adopted by each local educational agency's (LEAs) governing board prior to being submitted to the CDE for review and consideration for approval [30 EC Section 56195.1].*
The district must submit with the local plan, verification that the plan has been reviewed by the community advisory committee and that the committee had at least 30 days to conduct this review prior to submission of the plan to the Superintendent. [30 EC Section 56205 (22)(B)(6)].*
It is disappointing in the last few CAC meetings that there have been no collaborative discussions about Local Planning which is CAC’s primary area of focus. The District has tried to share several updates but the committee ran out of time. The SELPA director's updates have been placed at the end of the agenda. As a result, parent members of the CAC have not been told about dates for the committee to develop the Local Plan. And now the plan is already being presented.
CAC members who are also Coalition members have asked if a committee has been formed and how to participate throughout the year. In addition, we have been denied participation on CAC Budget subcommittee.
At the past few CAC meetings, the SELPA Director has attempted to share updates, but other topics consumed the committee’s time and there was no time left for a discussion on Local Plans. Sadly, the district lacks the voices of CAC members on these important plans and needs to improve their efforts to engage parents and be transparent.
Not having a format with the CAC for which to review the Local Plan, our Coalition organizers plans to review plans and submit detailed comments in the near future.