Parents speak out against cutting special education positions

Reported by: Madison Corney
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Updated: 4/25/2013 11:48 pm
Reno, NV (KRNV & -- A parent of two children with autism is speaking out against a Washoe County School District plan to cut five special education positions.

By law school districts must ensure that personnel have the skills and knowledge necessary to improve the academic achievement and functional performance of children with disabilities. Toni Richard, a parent and autism advocate believes the Washoe County School District may be on the verge of breaking that law.

Toni says, "Without the therapy that these kids so desperate need most of them will end up in an institution."

Toni explained that cutting special education staff would be a travesty and by eliminating these positions you are not only hurting students with special needs, but everyone around them.

Meanwhile, the Washoe County School District released this statement, "Due to sequestration, there will be impacts on the District budget, and some of those impacts will involve cutting the budget and reducing a total of five special education positions. However, services for students with autism are NOT being eliminated, and the needs of these students will still be addressed as we reorganize the department to accommodate the staffing changes. The situation is somewhat dynamic at this point, but even though our manpower is being impacted because of sequestration, students with autism will still receive the services they need from WCSD.”

While the school district did not specify exactly which positions were being eliminated, Toni is under the impression that will be five employees in the behavioral program, "Their eliminating all of the experts specifically trained to provide therapy to children with autism. In my son's IEP (Individual Education Program) it states that he is to have a behavior specialist come in and assist on an as needed basis, so how are they going to meet my son's IEP if they eliminate these positions?"

Toni, having two children with autism, could not stress enough the importance of having the right specialists by their side, "You have to have somebody there that actually understands the dynamic of the disability and provide the services. Besides the human devastation this is going to cause my children it's going to open the school district up for lawsuits."

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NVAdvocate - 4/26/2013 8:40 AM
0 Votes
The WCSD has a plethora of Special Education staff who are simply meeting attenders. "Program Facilitators" or "Program Coordinators" are people from the Edison Way office who show up at meetings, having never reviewed the child's file, and who are often attending in tandem with Area Administrators for Special Education. They often sit through entire meetings without saying a word, beyond introducing themselves. There's plenty of fat to cut in Special Education. It should not be anywhere near student services. In fact, eliminating the entire Special Education department save for two report writers would be keen.

tonysam - 4/26/2013 6:59 AM
0 Votes
The district says it is eliminating "positions." I seriously doubt anybody is being laid off. Considering there were a number of special education job openings for bid late this year, some of those jobs were likely not filled, or any new allocations will not be filled.

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