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School District To Form Special Education Strategic Planning Group

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The Alameda Unified School District is forming a special education task force. (File Photo)

Amid growing complaints from parents, often voiced on local social media groups, the Alameda Unified school District has announced its intent to form a special education strategic planning group to come up with a three- to five-year special ed plan for the school district.

The matter comes before the school district board of trustees tomorrow night, at the board’s regular meeting at city hall.

A presentation prepared for the meeting notes that, “the district lacks a special education strategic plan.”

To take one example, Farhad Matin, an Alameda parent, has been vocal on Facebook in his criticisms of the school district, writing, “The process of a child qualifying for services to receive free appropriate public education should not be so litigious and intimidating that you need to go hire an attorney. Unfortunately in Alameda it is.

“The current system to receive adequate services requires a parent to hire an attorney. The AUSD [Alameda Unified School District] administration is focusing on the cost of services rather then the need of the child , which is illegal. They may spend as much money in lawyers fees to deny the services as the services would cost if they just gave it based on qualifications. We are talking about services like physical therapy , speech, occupational therapy etc.”

The strategic planning group will be comprised of parents/guardians, certificated and classified staff members, union leaders, and district staff, will be tasked with creating a plan based on recommendations drawn from:

  • The state’s 2015 “Blueprint for Great Schools”
  • The state’s Special Education Task Force
  • The Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) internal review of AUSD special education operations
  • Current research on exemplary special education programs across California and the country
  • A thorough review of program and service delivery options, student performance measures, and financial data

The planning group will meet monthly for eight sessions, at the district’s head office, starting at 6:00 p.m., with the first session scheduled for March 30th.

Would-be members of the planning group are asked to commit to attending all eight meetings to help foster the development of a cohesive plan and a collective voice that will help AUSD improve its Special Education services.

Community members interested in serving on the planning group or who would like more information are encouraged to contact Kirsten Zazo, the district’s chief student support officer.

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