Monday, January 20, 2014

Want to Keep Those After-School Activities?

I wanted to pull this issue out from the Seattle Schools This Week thread because I believe this could affect many, many schools and their after-school programs.

Amending School Board Policy #4260, Use of School Facilities. 
It has come to my attention that the district wants to create a change in usage of facilities.  The district says it is "working with SCPTSA" over using facilities and there is a rent waiver process for groups wishing to use facilities for "youth enrichment that meet requirements."  This is a change from type of organization to type of use.

The issue is that the district now wants the group - not the district - to pay for aides or support for any special needs child.

With respect to all non-District uses of school facilities, the organization conducting the activity shall be responsible for assuring that youth are able to participate consistent with these requirements. This includes providing appropriate services and accommodations and, if necessary,paying the costs of providing services or accommodations for youth who require such assistance to participate. School staff will convene Section 504 meetings as appropriate, of those knowledgeable about the activity and the youth’s needs in order to be able to participate in the activity, to determine what services or accommodations are needed to allow the youth to participate, and will include a representative of the organization conducting the activity to assure their understanding of the requirements.

Obviously, this would be a huge issue for any group - PTA or not - to have to find the dollars to give to support for a child with a disability.  This is NOT to say that students with disabilities should not be able to access any or all programs on-site at their school, during the school day or not.

But the costs would likely be prohibitive to any group wanting to sponsor an activity.  Also, it appears that many students in this category would be attending under a 504 which would seem to be squarely in the district's responsibility.

I would urge you to write to the Board in opposition to this move.  PTAs or other groups could continue on without offering services to students with disabilities but naturally, would run the risk of a lawsuit or denial of space by the district.  Write toschoolboard@seattleschools.org and include "Use of School Facilities" in the subject line.

I know this is a matter of deep concern to the SCPTSA and I'm sure you will be hearing about this from your own school PTA.  It might mean the end of many after-school activities. 

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is SPS modeling this on some wording available and working in another district or is this another example of SPS inventing the wheel on its own?

DistrictWatcher

Charlie Mas said...

This looks like a way to waive the rent for AfricaTown.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but does anyone know about the new, new Math Program Manager? Last year it was J. Zombro, this year it is A. Box.

-inquiring

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Can someone explain the 504 reference?

Melissa Westbrook said...

DW, I can't say.

Concerned, do you mean what is a 504 or why is it related to this issue?

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Both:)

Mary Griffin said...

Don't panic, but it's more complicated...

First of all, the concerns that should be most paramount for the board, the staff, the parents,and the PTA's is that until this gets settled, that ALL the kids continue to receive before and after school enrichment. Seattle Council PTA has advised me that if any school PTA/PTSA has difficulty covering funding for providing aids/services should apply to Seattle Council PTA for scholarship funds.

Secondly, this is a matter of equity. Does each local PTA/PTSA have equal resources? No. Will they be impacted disproportionately at some schools more than others? Yes. It is likely that some schools may chose to close their before/after school programs based on this language in a procedure? Maybe.

I am inclined to believe that this policy/procedure is not taken from WSSDA's model policy and procedures, as most of the district's policies and procedures are. Rather it was developed as a response to one family's decision to try to exert their rights delineated in a "Dear Colleague" letter from the DOE regarding the provision of supports and accommodations for extracurricular activities: http://bit.ly/1dPOf6S. Briefly, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are
to participate with non-disabled peers in both non-academic and extracurricular
activities.

No one can convince me that Seattle Public Schools is not a backwater outlier when it comes to the provincial, backwards, unethical and frankly, illegal, provision of special education services, and this policy and procedure are just another example of it.

Staff, by putting forth this flawed policy and procedure, is attempting to legitimatize the district's shirking of its own moral and statutory duty to provide necessary supports and aids for students with disabilities.

Unlike the district, volunteer organizations like PTA's do not receive federal funds, are not educational agencies and are therefore not subject to the same federal laws and to the same degree regarding the provision of supports or aids. Some PTA's may find that the provision of aides or services may represent an undue burden. This would most likely happen this year, as planning and budgeting for this expense has simply not occurred.

The language in the paragraph cited by Melissa is really curious. People should know that students with disabilities may qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation ACT and additionally, and may also qualify for specifically designed instruction under IDEA. Section 504 is a civil rights laws which is aimed at eliminating discrimination on the basis of disability against students with disabilities. I, myself, have never heard of a "504 meeting," which is referred to in this procedure. So what I can surmise is that this is in reference to an IEP meeting. Either way, I do not believe that a "504 meeting" "called by staff" to which a random volunteer is invited meets any federal standards for what should be happening at an IEP meeting.

I could go on, but it's getting late. I urge the directors to vote no, develop a real collaborative plan to address this issue, involving PTA's, special education advocates and the district and perhaps come up with a policy which actually is aligned with the district's strategic plan and with complying with federal law.

Eric B said...

@Charlie, they could have waived rent for Africatown under the old policy. I agree with Mary that it sounds like a response to a complaint.

Anonymous said...

Mary-

504 meetings are convened similar to IEPs. The form/documentation outlining the disability and accommodations is reviewed, discussed and signed. The team is usually the parents, teachers, counselor and sometimes the administration.

LH

Mary Griffin said...

@LH,

I was unclear about the 504 meeting, I'm just saying I've never heard of a 504 meeting for a student with a disability who has an IEP. Every student with an IEP has 504 rights and rights under IDEA. Students with 504 plans only have rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

These are 504 accommodations (in other words they are being provided under civil rights law), but in most cases in this district expensive accommodations, such as 1:1 aides, would be provided to students with disabilities who also have IEPs. Students with IEPs do not have separate 504 plans and would not have separate 504 meetings.

Anonymous said...

You are incorrect Mary. It is possible to have significant 504 accommodations without having an IEP.

Further, by approaching the process without the supposition that SPS is a "a backwater outlier when it comes to the provincial, backwards, unethical and frankly, illegal, provision of special education services" our family has found the system to work as we understand it should.

Seattle Special Education voices on this blog are sweepingly negative and so I imagine to some extent they get what they expect. Our experience has been quite the opposite, perhaps because we did not begin by accusing the people working with our child as incompetent and out to skirt the law.

Happy 504 Mom

Mary Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Griffin said...

Happy 504 mom,

I am glad you are receiving great services under your 504 plan. I can see that there would be rare cases where 504 plan accommodations could be expensive. But as you probably well know, there are many differences between IEP's and 504 plans.

I try to stay positive about things, but it's difficult at times, when I receive 3-5 emails per day about things that go badly. Frankly, right now, I am having a "Richard Sherman" moment and I wish I could really, really just say the district was mediocre. That would be an improvement.

Every year we get a new director and every year we try to have an open mind that things might go better. And it's getting really old.

I am not the only one who thinks that the district needs to do an about-face when it comes to the provision of special education services. OSPI has given them a level 4 determination, which is the worst. Seattle public schools submitted a comprehensive corrective action plan to OSPI. Two quarterly reports have come due. OSPI is arriving next week to look at those reports and determine if the district has made its targets. What will happen if they haven't? I don't know. OSPI has the authority to yank federal funds. Do I think they will do this? No.

But in this particular case regarding facility use, the district needs to do more stakeholder engagement and get a policy and procedure on the table that is acceptable, practical, legal and in alignment with their stated strategic plan.

I would be very happy to hear that, and I would be happy to comment about that, too.

I would have to say that there is one thing that does really bother me about your comment, and that is the implication that somehow I or other parents "get what we expect."

That's a statement you made probably because you have limited exposure to the realities other families face. I doubt that you would say that if you could put yourself in others' shoes. It is depressing to listen to other family's misfortunes, but it's wrong to sugarcoat their experiences by acting like everything is great. It's not.

Anonymous said...

Happy 504 "They get what they expect" What does that mean? Even if these parents expect too many services or are over pessimistic with their expectation of SPS' competency, how would this cause them to get bad outcomes? Are you claiming the district is actively retaliating against demanding parents? Or are you saying their excessive expectations are causing bad karmic retaliation from the universe so that things go bad for their children? Would really like some clarification here. Certainly there are many parents who want all sorts of things for their kids, many of whom are not Sped Ed parents; but I really don't see how this actually cause bad outcomes.

CCA

Anonymous said...

The new School Board Policy on Use of School Facilities is a great step forward toward clarifying board intent around hourly use of facilities. It's been a long-time coming, following a crisis for many after-school programs in fall 2012. The new policy includes enthusiastic endorsement of out-of-school-time activities and clarifies board intent that PTAs and others offering enrichment programs or academic support programs would receive free rent (though the district would still charge for directly-incurred costs, such as custodial service on weekends).

Numerous schools have levy-funded programs with paid coordinators and free or subsidized tuition. These and other programs under the umbrella of the Community Alignment Initiative are not charged rent.

School communities without levy-funded programs are left to fend for themselves. It’s often volunteers, parent dollars, and small businesses coming together to cobble together a program. And it's often volunteer coordinators who must navigate a range of legal, financial, and insurance matters, as well as district bureaucracy (facilities, background checks, involvement and pay for school-teachers in before- and after-school program, etc.). A reinterpretation of the old (officially current) school board policy, by staff, led to looming rental costs and new restrictions for these programs in fall 2012 and threatened to undermine programs for many students. The new policy being presented to the school board this week helps ensure that doesn't happen again.

Both the new policy and new procedure were actually already implemented in fall 2013. Approval of the policy just makes it official. The procedure is a work in progress and will be further revised after the approval of the policy.

The late-breaking addition of the 504 language into the procedure is a specific issue that deserves attention and must be addressed to ensure that the intent of the policy -- which supports after-school activities -- isn't undermined in the procedure. It is also bringing attention to a good question about how after-school programs fit into public education, whose responsibility the programs are, and whether all students have access to appropriate enrichment opportunities.

But, in my opinion, the new facility-use policy itself isn't where the problem lies and it could be detrimental for approval of the policy to be delayed further.

Betsy

Anonymous said...

It seems ironic to me that start times cannot even be discussed without a tremendous amount of "research" and community engagement (which I think the community has more than initiated, but I digress), and YET, we can amend a board policy with none of the above when it comes to before and after school care as it relates to students with special needs. Can OSPI have any say about this?
Sped parent 2

Anonymous said...

Families of special needs students aren't exactly lining up to access these before and after school programs. Most are reluctant to ask because getting the basics of their kids IEPs and 504 plans squared away during the regular school day is already like walking on eggshells. The only point of this new addition on disabilities to the policy --the only point-- is to further discourage families of students with special needs from attempting to include their students in these opportunities. In my book, it's just another way the District dodges its moral and legal obligations to students with disabilities.

But what do I know.

reader

Mary Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Griffin said...

Betsy has a point. Board does not vote on procedure, only on policy, and there is nothing wrong with the new policy.

So the question is regarding procedure; how is there room for collaboration on a procedure which does not seem well-thought out and which has huge adverse implications?

Anonymous said...

"So the question is regarding procedure; how is there room for collaboration on a procedure which does not seem well-thought out and which has huge adverse implications?"

I am told that the author of the procedure is Ron English, District General Counsel. Can anyone confirm? If this is the case, we need a new Legal Department. If they can't be bothered to defend the laws supporting students with disabilities, their department needs a serious overhaul. Has the Special Education Department commented on this situation?


reader

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

And before the disabled advocates go nuts the government talks about reasonable access to an activity. R-E-A-S-O-N-A-B-L-E. A-C-C-E-S-S. Not accommodations that swaddle a disabled student and guarantee success.

One of my kids' afterschool activities has a Downs child in it. It works because the activity works to the strengths of the child. Its a positive for everyone, most importantly that child. I am not against the disabled in extracurriculars. That would be illegal anyhow, I suppose. But I am against shoving a kid into a situation that overwhelms and makes unsafe the general ed students, the leader, and the kid himself. That's either selfishness or stupidity on the part of the kids parents.

POd

And not going to post after this as I can guess now that certain commenters will be raging against the machine. Their rage is my point.

Melissa Westbrook said...

First POd, I deleted your first comment because you were name-calling (and at kids - bad form).

I understand what you are saying but yes, I believe reasonable accommodations can be figured out. But your heated rhetoric - "nuts" "selfishness" "stupidity" - don't help your cause.

To want your child to be able to participate in activities open to other children is not wrong (and yes, it likely would be illegal). Advocating for that does not make you selfish or stupid.

And what a rationalization you end with - you want to say your POV with heated rhetoric but now you'll be exiting the kitchen to avoid any blowback?

mirmac1 said...

Don't let the door hit ya PO'd

Frankly, the tone of the original post is concerning to me. The implication is that, once again, those darn children with disabilities are mucking things up for everyone.

SEAAC has let SPS know that it has a duty to ensure both district and non-district practices do not discriminate; that, as the key administrator, principals should be accountable for the activities in their buildings.

So what do we get, a Ron English composed policy that attempts to kick the can down the road. Sorry, it won't work, as the Fed DOE's Office of Civil Rights wrote in its guidance to districts: "A school district’s legal obligation to comply with Section 504 and the Department’s regulations supersedes any rule of any association, organization, club, or league that would render a student ineligible to participate, or limit the eligibility of a student to participate, in any aid, benefit, or service on the basis of disability."

Anonymous said...

This is a mess.

What about schools without PTAs or site-based parent led organization, schools that don't enjoy support from the community imitative?

There a Board based procedures, not many of them, but a few.

If this is the best Mr. English can do, the Board should grab it back, because this is nuts!

There is no procedure for the procedure. Holding arms-length 3rd party AFTER HOURS vendors accountable to various SCHOOL based legal requirements makes no sense: they are not schools and this isn't school.

I am a parent of a special Ed student. I do not expect the world to adapt to his needs beyond the ADA.

I also expect my child's confidential information kept confidential, and not shared by the school with arms-length third-party private vendors, or for that matter, other parents at the school because they are part of the PTA.

-mess

Mary Griffin said...

On a side note, I recently read a book called Becoming Citizens by Susan Schwartezenberg. It's a book that documents the early history of disability rights in Seattle, discussing thirteen different local families and four moms in particular who launched the state law called "Education for All," the precursor to the National Law now known as IDEA.

It is telling that the taunts and the rants that have historically been launched at families of kids with disabilities are still being launched.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone is really interested, here's what the law says about it. The law is IDEA. The "public agency" is "the school". Notably EQUAL opportunity for participation is required under IDEA.


“The State must ensure the following:
(a) Each public agency
must take steps, including the provision of supplementary aids and services determined
appropriate and necessary by the child’s IEP Team, to provide nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities in
the manner necessary to afford children with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in those services and activities.
(b) Nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities may include counseling services, athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the public agency, referrals to agencies that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities, and employment of students, including both employment by the public agency and assistance in making outside employment available.” 34 C.F.R.
300.107.

Another Sped Parent

Anonymous said...

There are 2 questions that arise from this new proposed policy.

1) Is the activity a school "sponsored" extracurricular activity? Or is it something else?

2) How much "support" is required for the student to participate?


The school district would like us to believe that nearly everything outside of bell-to-bell, isn't really a "school sponsored" activity. If the activity is taking place at the school, without the school charging rent, the activity is arguably "school sponsored". The school is "sponsoring" the activity by donating the building. If there is a stronger link - eg. PTA support, use of teachers as "volunteers", notification for the activity via school channels, then the activity is definitely a "school sponsored extracurricular". Policies like this, emphasize the district's wish to distance themselves from any responsibility for the accessibility of most extracurricular activity by students with disabilities. Some schools don't even want to allow students with disabilities access to field trips. Parents are told to come and chaperone their difficult children. Sorry, but that's illegal.

2. POD claims parents want Cadillacs. Yes, we've all heard that before. The fact is, it IS a pretty low bar that's required. The district doesn't have to guarantee success in the activity - only a floor of opportunity. It must provide enough staff for safety at a minimum. If the kid isn't "safe" because of their disability, then the district needs to cough up extra support. Sorry POD. That's simply the law. The district MUST provide EQUAL ACCESS under IDEA for ALL extracurricular activities that the child's family wishes him/her to participate in. That's not a guarantee of success. I'm less familiar with ADA. IDEA requires more than the ADA, and for the entirety of school day.

In the case of sports, one of the most pervasive extracurriculars - you see very few people with disabilities participating. Why shouldn't people with disabilities get EQUAL ACCESS to sports? Why do some people have a God given right to sports education... at great expense to the district, but people with disabilities no such right? Same goes for Band and other Music. The DOE has called on districts to provide an EQUAL access to this education based on interest rather than ability.

Another Sped Parent

mirmac1 said...

Well said, Another SpEd Parent.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a decent policy as I read it. The school district should not be paying for anything that the district doesn't, in one way or another, control.

If the programs are on site that is simply easy access for the students to get to the program but I do not see anything in the law that states schools have to pay for extra activities. Now if there IS something in the law that requires it then clearly it must continue to be paid for by the district.

-Lemons

Anonymous said...

Comments are disabled for the open thread...

Peaslee has an amendment to shift start times 10 min later. The justification is that students will be waiting in the dark for buses in the AM. Newsflash - students will still wait in the dark with a 10 min shift. On top of that, many will be dropped off in the dark as the afternoon departure will be 4:00pm (!) for half of the elementary schools.

Sunrise Sunset Seattle

As a parent of a student that endured a third tier bus time, I'd much rather deal with an early start time than the late departure, not to mention the insanely late start time of what, 9:45??

insanity

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

From the "modified" Appendix A of the Transportation Service Standards:

OTHER EXCEPTIONS;

1. Jane Addams K-8 students that reside in the Eckstein Attendance Area will receive district
provided transportation for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

1.2. TOPS K-8 students that reside in the Beacon Hill and Kimball Elementary Attendance
Areas will receive district provided transportation for the 2014-15 school only.

-interesting

Lynn said...

It is ridiculous to have elementary students getting out at 4:00. What are they thinking?

Anonymous said...

Walking distance to bus stops being increased to 1.0 mi max for all students (from 0.5 mi elementary, and 0.75 mi MS/HS).

-nn

Anonymous said...

I am looking at Peaslee's amendment- can someone explain this to me? Is this the likely one to go through? She wants to move all start times 10 minutes later? So elementary kids get off the bus at 4:50? That is far worse and more dangerous (especially given the move to lengthen walk commutes to bus stops) than having those same kids waiting for the bus at the extremely low traffic time of 6:45 or 7 am, and it's much darker by 4:50 pm than it is at 6:45 am. Lincoln was at one point slated to start at 9:50 (9:35 arrival time) and end at 3:50, getting kids home about 4:50, based on current bus travel times. So now it would be 5? This is insanity. 4:50 is already awful.

So she says she wants to move all this later because it's slightly better for middle school kids, but to my mind this gets a ton of elementary school kids run over during rush hour in the dark when they finally get off the bus. I agree teenagers, particularly middle schoolers, should start school later, probably later than elementary school kids. Perhaps, instead of mowing down elementary kids to slightly tweak middle school and k-8 start times, giving teenagers one more snooze cycle of sleep, we could just, I don't know, SWAP ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL START TIMES.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Also I don't think it's clear what "sponsor" means under the law. I know sps claims often that its property is community property, for community use outside of school hours, and demands rent/fees for use from PTA and community groups, notably the fundraising tax from earlier this year. If these groups do not fall under the protection of sps, have to pay for access, do not have paid instructors from the district, I'm not sure they are "sponsored" by the district. On the other hand if the district is shirking it's duties of basic education onto these groups- if these enrichment activities are basic education the district has to provide access to, then not only do they have to support students with 504 and IEPs, they need to support the programs in a much more meaningful way. Paid teachers for all these, paid coordinators (not parents volunteering).

I think there should still be some community programs (and that PTAs can help sponsor some- PTAs are so very much not schools), and want our schools to be open places community members can come in as they are able, like a robotics expert parent holding a club in the cafeteria or a felting crafter having a little class on school grounds. Just being on school grounds with kids shouldn't make you school district staff. I don't think they should be held to the same standard as the school district, who need to both define and support enrichment programs- probably sports, music, some academic debate/math club stuff.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing sleeper. The community gets the education it has advocates and pays for. It's one thing if it decides that no enrichment is necessary. But it can not ask for volunteer "enrichment" that discriminates in lieu of school enrichment which provides accessibility. The courts have held that sponsorship includes providing a building before.

The real point is that the district can not legally just shift its responsibility to someone else, even if it dreams up a policy. As you see, the list of things the district is responsible for is large. They include referrals to outside agencies. And it is the DISTRICT that is responsible, not somebody else.

-ANother sped parent

Anonymous said...

They generally hold that it doesn't though (religious clubs on school grounds, Boy Scouts still allowed, etc), and generally grant schools as quasi community space. I agree with you on probably some activities- the district can't fob off middle school sports entirely to outside vendors, and then say, "oh, and by the way you need to comply with IDEA, too" instead of doing it themselves. If sports are basic education, then the district is on the hook, soup to nuts. But there has also got to be some community space without the same requirements (in all ways). Not all community activities on school grounds must meet all the federal and state regulations meant to keep the district in line, especially if they are just using the space to the benefit of the community, on a non critical, volunteer basis.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Huh, the more I look at it the clearer it is that merely providing a building is not sponsorship. That must have been one of an enumerated list of factors in whatever case you were talking about. AND it looks like schools have to be pretty open about who they let in to have programs- keeping after school hours programs out because they do not meet relatively onerous regulatory requirements is probably illegal.

Which is different than whether schools should themselves provide enrichment opportunities which meet all the IDEA requirements. They should. But if parents want to bring more or other programs in, and even volunteer to run them, they can.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

The question of SPED accessibility in enrichment program policies cannot be a question unique to this district. Special needs families and extracurriculars and parent-led programs within school walls exist in most districts in the U.S.

SPS needs to look at other districts' policies before writing its own.

EdVoter

Mary Griffin said...

Note: The following is not legal advice. I am not a lawyer. Nor it is the offical position of any PTA or PTSA. It is solely my personal opinion.

I think the facilities procedure needs to be modified to say that if a child's IEP states that the child will be attending extracurricular activities with aids or services, then the district should be financially responsible for implementation of that part of the IEP.

I think that if the student either does not have extracurricular activities included in his or her IEP or has a 504 plan, then the organization is left being accountable for nondiscrimination and "access" to the extent that it is reasonable.

PTAs, PTOs and other volunteer organizations are not "public agencies" and do not receive federal funds. They are not subject to IDEA or Section 504. The Office for Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Education has held, though, that PTA programs and activities are covered by the ADA, in that the school district provides significant indirect assistance to the PTA.

The argument can be made that by providing district space rent-free, and by allowing PTA's to advertise via websites (and other benefits) that the district, to some degree is sponsoring the activity--even though the district (and probably the PTA) does say they are not. There are court cases which go either way on this issue, and I think it would have to go to court again to settle that question in this situation, so for now, I'm going with ADA.

Sports and other activities which are clearly district-sponsored activities are a different matter, and I think that the district has a lot of work to do to get to the point where they provide the kind of aids and services that they are requiring of PTA's.

The bottom line is, if your student has an IEP, and if you feel that your child would receive benefit from participating with same-age peers in extracurricular activities, discuss the activity with the IEP team and get it written into his or her IEP. This is an area where I am going to assume there may be difficulties. If there are difficulties with this, please contact me offline. My email is maryvgriffin (at) gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

It is not a question unique to this district, and it is fairly settled, though mostly the cases have been in the area of first amendment (religious groups). But there have been a looooot of cases. Very much an asked and answered question. Offering a building or passing out literature or allowing advertising on websites is not sponsoring. This is not my area of law, and not legal advice, but I don't see why in my little bit of midnight research a court would look seriously at this.

This does seem like the district trying to do better by special ed, but I don't think it's required, and in fact as I mentioned above may be illegal. Definitely a ham handed way to go about it.
-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Cross posted. CA has a pretty well developed toolkit for PTAs, and Ada compliance for activities like dances or fundraisers! or programs the PTA pays for (like the tutors many PTAs pay for in schools). That =\= my fiber arts example with an outside vendor the PTA merely facilitated sign ups space for the vendor to have their class. What a "PTA program" is is pretty well defined, too.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Look sleeper. It might not even be a matter of sponsorship. IDEA simply states that students with disabilities need to be afford EQUAL ACCESS to extracurricular activities. That's it! It doesn't go into sponsorship. Right. You can't fob that off onto someone else - like the activity provider. And, as a matter of civil rights, no you can't discriminate either. Can you imagine the district allowing the KKK to have "space"... and then say, oh well the organization has to agree not to discriminate. ???? That would never happen. But somehow, it's OK in the case of disabilities.

To set policy - with the loosest possible interpretation, means the district will wind up with incurred fees and costs should the restrictions ever found to be of a higher bar.

-Another Sped Parent

Anonymous said...

No, there are some limitations, but they do have to allow, say, religious groups use of space, because schools are "quasi open forums," and it's fine for those religious groups to advertise on school grounds or pass out literature, though that is the religious group doing something (practicing religion) that the school could absolutely not do because of federal requirements. You can have groups that have gender requirements(all girls or all boys) that schools would not be allowed to do during the school day because of anti discrimination laws. This is the same kind of question. But I just like this stuff and have an interest; I feel sure lawyers who actually practice on this area and give real advice instead of me just noodling could give better examples. I was surprised at how thoroughly the question of sponsorship has been answered, but I guess it's not surprising if you think about it from the religious angle.

-sleeper

Lori said...

Melissa, sleeper's comment about Peaslee's amendment deserve some prominence today. Would you consider a separate thread? Elementary school parents have no idea that their start times might be 25 minutes later next year. I don't understand how these drastic changes that would have major effects on families get slipped into amendments 24 hours before a Board vote.

I whole-heartedly support later start times for adolescents and teens. It makes sense for their biorhythyms, but I cannot believe that a 10 minute delay, from a bus arrival time of 735AM to 745AM, will have such significant benefits for these kids that it justifies starting elementary schools at practically 10AM! Afternoon buses will likely leave at 410PM, getting some of these young kids home near 5PM. Is that what we as a community want? Is it fair for elementary students to no longer be able to participate in afterschool activities, many of which currently start at 4PM? Is it safe to ask little kids to walk up to 1 mile home in near-dark, at rush hour?

We need to consider the impacts on ALL communities. Yes, later starts for older kids make sense, but this is not the way to make it happen, particularly because of the lack of outreach to affected stakeholders.

Anonymous said...

And just as middle school students have trouble focusing in the morning, elementary school students have that same biological lull- when? Oh right, late afternoon. Which is not getting as much press lately because we are the only school district considering making the elementary school day 10-4 that I know of. Anything after 2:30 or 3 is tough on those little minds that have been up and raring to go since early morning, and this proposal has a quarter of the school day at that time. Honestly I have a hard time feeling the worry about elementary kids standing out waiting for the bus at dawn- that's when I went to work for years, and it is probably the safest time all day and night to be out on the curb- but rush hour (in the pitch dark, let's be clear, at least as dark as the morning) is an entirely different matter.

If they would just swap them it would be better academically for both groups. I am so frustrated by their obdurateness on this issue.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Nathan Hale has a member of the cheer squad with Down's Syndrome. She is as much a part of the squad as anyone else and goes through the same tryout process as all the other cheerleaders and is held to the same standards. She is a valued member of the team.

HP

mirmac1 said...

HP, those examples are the exception, not the rule. What is more common is, say, FEL after-school activities offering transportation home for everyone EXCEPT students with disabilities because they "don't have budget". I'd say the city, with its expansive taxing authority, should not be allowed to discriminate via FEL providers.

Anonymous said...

"Don't let the door hit ya PO'd?" That boorish comment seems as bad as the comment that got deleted. In fact Mirmac's postings often border on boorishness but (s)he rarely seems to be upbraided. Just because (s)he is a self appointed advocate for the disabled should mean her/his behavior should not also be commented on. I often find it offensive. I am commenting because I did not like POd's way of putting things but I see his/her point. We are not bad people when we disagree with the prolific special education posters on this blog. Their viewpoint no matter how lodged in moral justice and ADA speak is just that. An opinion. If they want to do more than that they should take it court. That's their right. Otherwise it's just another opinion unless they happen to be a lawyers deeply knowledgeable about case law which I doubt in this case they are.

Volunteer
Volunteer

Anonymous said...

I check out my children's activities carefully. I will not let them participate in activities where children with disabilities are not able to participate because of their disability. In the same way that I would not let them participate in activities that don't allow African American children or Jewish children. It just seems like discrimination to me. I don't want my kids to think that is ok.

-HS parent

Anonymous said...

More on another viewpoint----

After-school volunteer --- not SPS-employees like teachers or coaches or official extended school day or athletics activities --- organizations are supposed to fulfill school-based IEP and 504 goals? It's not going to happen.

I think we should take away that expectation as well as the district's half-thought-out policy language right now. Both sides are being stubborn and unhelpful to the thousands of kids in this district who participate in these programs.

Lack of policy language will actually make the district less liable if there is an issue. So get rid of it.

Also, blatantly saddling parent groups with expectations the district itself does not seem to handle well is ridiculous.

Demanding sped parents have to give an inch too and no I don't want to hear about how your whole life is a fight for justice. A lot of us get it. We really do. But that does not mean parent-funded small potatoes enrichment groups should be demanded to provide specific IEP services during 45 minutes of fun time. It is unreasonable and undoable. Sure, disabled kids should be welcomed and kept safe like every other kid. If it seems like they are not, then a word to the organizer of an activity is the first line of action. Then the school or larger sponsoring organization. Bet it usually resolves it! If it does not and you want to get lawyer then fine and dandy.


But beyond being welcomed and safe why should these special education parents be demanding more? ADA does not go that far, sorry. Because the general ed kids aren't getting anymore either. Allowing access to a disabled child is a low baseline. Special education advocates cannot turn it into a pole vault line, even if it seems unfair to their child. If some special ed parent is going to threaten to sue over this, fine. Let them sue. Again, having no language in the policy will in court benefit the district.

Almost every parent and volunteer school community in this district struggles to find ways to bring more to kids than a short school day and short funds allow. Special ed parents should be looking for ways to help the situation not make it worse. That means collaboration not misplaced militancy against good people doing their best.

Volunteer

Anonymous said...

I have seen way too many after school programs wind up having only the students who can get transportation and have a non-working parent able to pick them up. These are select little groups, indeed!

There's a tired argument that is made to justify the growing economic and racial segregation in this district--my child is not getting what is owed to him/her, so why should I have to give up potential opportunities to make it fair for your child?

I thought I had gotten used to this attitude, but Volunteer has taken it to a new level by taunting and finger pointing
at parents of children with disabilities for being too demanding.

I can certainly see why the district is attempting to separate itself from potential costs that they are not legally responsible for. What is appalling however, is that people like Volunteer and others don't think it's important to help find ways to include all students who would like to participate with voluntary contributions, grants, etc.

That leaves a very select group of peers for your children. Is that really how you want them to experience the world? What about the children who are being excluded for economic or disability reasons, at school, even though it's after school?

I'm a teacher, and I hear the kids talk. "I did this after school yesterday in the cafeteria." The fact that these activities are taking place in school has powerful connotations to the excluded. The scars can be lasting. The missed opportunities cannot be taken up later.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Volunteer, SPED parents pay their PTA dues, donate and volunteer their time at schools to benefit the whole school too. There should be real effort to include/accommodate SPED students in school based and school sponsored activities. PTA by its very nature is organized around a school. Its mission is to support the school and the community. Start putting in exception clause and you are looking at a heap of trouble.

another volunteer


mirmac1 said...

Volunteer,

At the risk of sounding boorish, I'd say your opinion speaks volumes about the attitudes sped kids and families run into every day...

Do you honestly think we asked for this? If so then you are misguided. What is clear is that SPS cannot shirk its responsibility under the law as defined by the Fed Office of Civil Rights.

This policy will not pass as written. On the contrary, someone other than Ron English should write a policy that fosters a welcoming, inclusive environment for all.

SPS should spend less money on "performance-based compensation systems", the "Strategic Plan" and RTTT projects, and more on school-based and extracurricular activities that benefit students.

Anonymous said...

"But beyond being welcomed and safe why should these special education parents be demanding more?"

This misunderstanding of what special education is and how it matters is exactly why decisions about students' participation in before/after school activities need to stay with the professionals who work together with parents to develop 504 plans and IEPs.

Unfortunately, many principals and many general education teachers feel the same way about what occurs during the regular school day in our students' 504 plans and IEPs.

another volunteer

Anonymous said...

Interesting conversation. Here is something no one has discussed yet: The collision of data privacy with parent-fueled extracurriculars.

The district, by its own policy, already shares special education information with its "official" 3rd party providers of after school care. I'm thinking here of Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, levy-funded paroviders and the like.

If the district now wants to do a 'handoff' of responsibility to these other parent groups, I am imagining they too will have the right to view these records.

Do special education parents really want fellow parents reading their kids' records? I am thinking especially about sensitive medical conditions which would still be part of the school record and so accessible. Or the entwined issues of school discipline and autism or EBD status. From what I have seen, parent gossip trains can be equally if not far more hurtful to a kid's reputation than student peer interaction.

I am far more at ease as a condition of participation with a once-removed camp leader knowing my child's issues than the mom of that "perfect kid" in my son's room.

I don't think this policy or its fallout are ready to go as of yet.

SavvyVoter

Anonymous said...

Our family has an end stage ill high school child with a 504 and IEP. My child does after school activities and goes on field trips. However; we provide all the medical support during out of school time activities. It would be too expensive for any group or organization to provide a registered nurse during these activities and keep others, including our other child, from benefiting from such enrichment. Our child has to have a nurse available to attend school and the school nurse is an important component of educational access. We, the parents, gladly do the rest because we believe that our society has already stepped up to help with the 504 and IEP.

Thank you all for your help.

Roosevelt Parent

Anonymous said...

Roosevelt Parent,

I'm stating the obvious here, but not all parents have the financial resources to provide what you are able to provide for your child.

What about those students?

--enough already

mirmac1 said...

FYI, I see the Transportation Standards have been pulled from the agenda.

Lynn said...

Roosevelt Parent,

Reading that, my heart breaks for you. I admire your gratitude for the services the district provides your child - and I hope that eventually the district will also provide the support your child requires in out-of-school activities.

Best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

Roosevelt Parent: Blessings and peace to you and your family. Also gratitude over your graciousness and thoughtfulness, both traits seemingly in very short supply in this district in both staff and parent circles.

Observer

Anonymous said...

Clarification,

We the parents provide the medical assistance outside of school. We do not pay others to do it. Medicare already trained us to assist. So, you the tax payer already provided. How could a club like, a math club, provide funding to cover the after school care when they have very little funding at all? They would have a very small budget. I would not want access denied for others. These costs are catastrophic. They are not a few hundred dollars but can be in the thousands for an overnight trip. Our situation is extreme because we are covered through health insurance, medicare and special grant moneys through Children's Hospital. Perhaps a special grant system could expand access for those that do fall through the system cracks. It would be horrible to shut great programs down because of the needed funds to take care of my situation. Our society benefits from all persons reaching their full potential. We do not have the funds to cover every single person. We can try, wish, hope and disagree but please do not hold back simple,cheap, growth opportunities from the many because of my child. Our society has already done there best to help us.

Roosevelt Parent

Anonymous said...

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/a-balanced-school-needs-a-balance-of-volunteers/

An article about volunteering and some issues that can come up when we are not mindful that volunteers are there to serve ALL kids in the school not just their own. I've seen schools where the volunteers are very "clubby" to the detriment of the kids, and I've seen the opposite and, as a result, more kids well served. As a volunteer, I feel it's my duty to educate myself about the student population and to work to understand the kids who participate. My experience with parents of kids with special needs has been positive; I've see people actively working to help their children succeed and willing to offer support when necessary.

Gen Ed Mon

Anonymous said...

Bottom line. Yes. My kid has participated in MANY extracurricular activities. I've always found people helpful. On only a few occasions have we ever had somebody balk. One time was at an afterschool club sport where the community coach felt shouldn't have to include students with disabilities are often unathletic. In the end, he came around. My kid grew and excelled in the sport he wanted to do despite of significant disability and despite the reluctance of the coach. Everybody grew, and our team did well. (Notably, the KIDS were great! As usual, kids are leading the way in civil rights.) We've always figured out a way to do it. Great! I'm resourceful, they're resourceful. I'm thankful to those who have stepped up AND thankful that I have the means to fill in the gaps.

That said. You can't just provide "cheap" extracurriculars to students who pose no extra costs. If you can't provide your thing to everyone, then you may well be shot down for anyone. You can't say "low income kids are harder to serve, and I've only got 1 hour to give. So we'll just keep them out of the program." It behooves groups to consider everyone - including the hardest to serve. Thankfully, most do try. I too have volunteered. And I bent over backwards to make my offering accessible to everyone who showed any interest including students with very challenging behavior disorders. I expect that of others as well. It is a public school. And if groups refuse, and/or the school doesn't cough up the money - then the activities should not be provided on school grounds or as a school activity. (Yes, we've got boy scouts. But then, the school better have a girl-scouts if anybody wants it. And I bet they do!)

-Another sped parent

Anonymous said...

Getting the district to fund this is a great idea. This is a great opertunity to further reduce classroom funding.

DifferentID said...

I want to ask some questions that I think will come across poorly as tone-deaf, so please take my questions with the thought that I just want to understand these issues better.

Are we talking about the 10-week after school classes that some PTAs organize in elementary schools, or is this about the school-organized activities--sports, band, yearbook, and the like--that get mentioned in the yearbook at the middle and high school level?

Are kids being turned away from programs because they have disabilities? Or are we simply not even seeing them apply as part of the audience for these classes because their parents don't even consider it worth their time to push for accommodations?

And are there some examples of what kind of accommodations this is proposing? I saw the article mention a visual timer for a deaf runner. Are they usually material-based like the timer, or is it needing to pay for adult support to join the after school programs?

another volunteer wrote: This misunderstanding of what special education is and how it matters is exactly why decisions about students' participation in before/after school activities need to stay with the professionals who work together with parents to develop 504 plans and IEPs.

Anonymous said...

DifferentD. That is indeed the question. Which afterschool activity are we talking about? And does it count as a "school sponsored extracurricular" or not? If something is a school sponsored extracurricular activity, then IDEA applies to it without question. High school sports and yearbook are 100% school-sponsored extracurricular activities. They are funded by the district after all. We disability advocates interpret "extracurricular" activities to be almost anything that happens at school that is readily available to students. IDEA also says that the district must provide equal access to extracurricular activity. Especially if the school is involved in any way, you would say it is sponsored. We definitely include afterschool care, parks and rec programs, OST programs. Does the school provide support to the activity by giving it space at below market value? Does the entity give the school's kids a special discount? Are there chaperones from the school? Does the school enforce discipline for the entity? Is school communication used to organize the activity?

Our district would like to wash its hands of ANY responsibility for disability support by claiming that most of these activities are simply something irrelevant happening on school grounds. That is the intent of tis new policy.

As to the proposals for accommodation: Here are some examples. Accommodation for Sign Language. Accommodation for extra breaks. Extra support persons for safety. Support person for assistance managing gear or changing clothing. Extra instruction in the activity. Social coaching/instruction during the activity. (some of these accommodations are actually specially designed instruction).

-Another special ed parent

Anonymous said...

So where does an organization like Powerful Schools (which provides after-school enrichment to elementary schools in the Southend regardless of PTA activity)) fit into this? They charge a fee, and have scholarships for low-income kids. I believe the District provides busses (but who knows what's going to happen to that now?). I'm not 100% certain about that, but know I have seen yellow buses at the school at 4:30.

And what about Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts/Campfire? Individual troops are volunteer-run—though don't always meet at a school (our's did not). I don't see how a small troop could provide an ASL interpreter or a nurse to a child who needed one. Many troops have a hard enough time getting one–two parents to serve as Troop Leaders. I assume this is something the Regional and National offices could take on, but not 100% sure how it would all work out logistically.

It is definitely an issue that needs to be thought-out and managed with all of the stakeholders involved. Sadly, in the end it comes down to money as is so often the case. Somehow I don't see the District taking on the cost without being forced to by the government.

Too bad Gates won't champion children with disabilities to help make it feasible to provide after-school activities to all kids.

Solvay Girl

Anonymous said...

Or a free after school class fun by a parent who just wanted to share cool math/robotics/computer/chess whatever… and the school says sure use the space and help the kids.
I know everyone at our school would want everyone who want to to be able to do it, but
a) I don't know that I would want random parent in on private meetings about student info, great as random parent might be and
b) if the need was super expensive is the parent offering free class apposed to pay? Everyone in the free class? I don't understand.
-totally confused

Anonymous said...

Are there really free classes? I have never experienced this at private or public school. Low cost, yes. Free, no.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

We have had free activities offered by parents.
Which is why I asked about it.
-TC

Anonymous said...

The typical 10-week PTA-organized program is definitely at issue here. Both the type where a small business or non-profit is brought in to offer an art or drama class and the type where a parent volunteer leads a newspaper or math club. Tuition in classes with a paid instructor is either set by the provider (vendor) or negotiated by the PTA. There is often a moderate fee for parent-led volunteer clubs to cover materials, but volunteer leaders aren't paid. Classes and programs are often cobbled together by volunteers, with or without much school support or district guidance.

In an ideal world, all such programs would be well organized, with dedicated (even paid?) coordinators that inherit institutional knowledge and know where to go for guidance on a variety of requirements (e.g. district, PTA governance, and insurance). Coordinators would have support and oversight from a well-informed PTA/PTO board that has established policies and practices for such matters as insurance requirements, student supervision, tracking and verification of background checks for all instructors and volunteers, agreements with providers and volunteers, provision of scholarships, etc. And they would work hand-in-hand with the school.

But we're talking about parent volunteer organizations that are already stretched for volunteer hours. And we're talking about busy principals and school staff that have no mandate from the district to work collaboratively with PTAs/PTOs on enrichment programs. There are a few programs with stable, supportive school situations that have been able to achieve pretty good models. But the coordinator job is a burnout job, usually with little support or guidance, and new coordinators every year or two. Programs and PTAs/PTOs are not all equal in resources or management, and ascribing the federal mandate for 504 accommodations on every one of them, as-is, seems not only legally misguided but unwise for all involved. And it could set up false expectations for families with special needs kids.

The argument that school-support organizations (PTAs/PTOs/booster groups) are "using" district facilities and are "receiving significant assistance" from the district (as general counsel argued in the school board meeting last night)--and are therefore subject to the section 504 mandate--turns on its head the district-identified role as “school support organizations.” As described in policy 4120, PTAs, PTOs and other recognized school-support organization exist solely to support the mission of the school. We’re not outside organizing that happen to “use” district facilities; we're more of a backdoor way that the district can get a lot of things done, get extra funding and manpower, without being limited by all the regulations of a school district or district employee. They’re shooting themselves in the foot if they break our ability to continuing maintain programs that provide enrichment in places the district doesn’t.

What is the district funded and provided a baseline level of enrichment programs and after-hours academic support at ALL schools? Optional involvement of a school’s teachers (paid a stipend or hourly wage) could go a long way toward establishment of affordable, sustainable, quality programs at all schools. But today, many teachers are discouraged from leading classes or clubs because of confusion over ethics rules, contract obligations, and questions over insurance and pay. And how about if the district had even one effective staff person dedicated to providing guidance and support for all program coordinators—especially volunteers? Oh, the obstacles a competent person who cares could help clear or prevent! The district needs a policy and proactive approach to either providing or at least supporting enrichment programs — for all students.

(more...)

Betsy

Anonymous said...

(continuing...)
Back to the topic of accommodations...Community-Alignment organizations are a good question. Powerful Schools, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Club, after-school childcare, and other group would seem to be under a higher-level of obligation at least to the extent that they receive public funding. Anyone know what they're doing now? Are childcare providers and levy-funded programs obligated to meet and (when needed) pay for the same 504 accommodations a child receives during the day?

Betsy

Lynn said...

I'd rather see district money spent on smaller class sizes than supporting after-school enrichment programs. Our spending has to be prioritized, and until the state provides adequate funding for the basics, I don't think these programs should be anywhere near the top of the list.

mirmac1 said...

This is not an either/or proposition. I chastised the district last night for presenting it as such.

In my line of work, agencies are granted millions in Fed $$s. In return, they are obligated to NOT perpetuate discrimination. They must hire veterans, the disabled, and minorities. They must Buy America utilize small, local businesses, recyle etc. They must do many things - some that have higher priority to some people than others. Either way, it is a condition these grant recipients must meet. No ifs, ands or buts. And for the district to make it out like, meh, we don't wanta, well, that's a non-starter. I think Ron English got that message last night.

So although the district is not obligated to put in place "performance-based compensation systems", broad data-sharing arrangements with whomever wants your private info, foreign-language immersion, transportation to elective programs, the Alliance's pet TFA/misc programs, IB or various academies, etc etc, they ARE required NOT to perpetuate discriminatory practice.

This policy/procedure will not be approved as written. And I hope this latest district screw-up is the last that has parents fighting for the crusts while Road Map and Gates projects sidle up to the bar for another round.

Anonymous said...

Betsy said: "We’re not outside organizing that happen to “use” district facilities; we're more of a backdoor way that the district can get a lot of things done, get extra funding and manpower, without being limited by all the regulations of a school district or district employee."

Uh, that sounds like exactly why this is a problem, no?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

"I'd rather see district money spent on smaller class sizes than supporting after-school enrichment programs."

I'm not imagining a budget item as much as intentional, proactive collaboration from the district with volunteer- and parent-funded enrichment and academic-support programs. And if the district would simply get their own policies straight, more teachers would participate in after-school programs, which is one of the most sustainable, affordable options for parent-funded programs. The district keeps inadvertently making it harder for us to run the programs that they don't. And there's no one in the district tasked with looking at the whole picture. The impact of every confusing policy, nonsensical regulation and unresolved issue (like the teacher-pay one) makes it all the harder for even parent groups to run programs for kids. The impact is even greater on schools with more low-income families, those with no Title I funding, no levy funded programs, and fewer parent volunteers and dollars to make up the difference.

HIMS mom -- yes, that is the problem. I find it ironic to hear an argument that the justification for shifting the 504 mandate onto PTAs/PTOs is because we receive "significant assistance from the district". Um, isn't it the other way around?

If you didn't hear the discussion last night, the school board meeting is being rebroadcast right now (channel 26). The 4260 discussion should be sometime after 10pm. It's at least 20 minutes and starts with a presentation by General Counsel, Ron English.

Betsy

Anonymous said...

I think the basic point is this, we can't all, as a community, keep looking for ways to do things on the cheap, essentially by robbing certain students over and over again of opportunities. This is true for "volunteers", and true for the schools themselves. And, it really doesn't matter who has to cough it up. If there's some special art program, or robotics program - but well, we can't include this group or that one. Then, bottom line, you don't get to have that activity until you come up with more resources or ways of serving students. There's a reason these things are expensive for schools. That reason also exists for volunteers. If you can't afford it for everybody, you can't afford it for anybody. Period. Ron English seems to want to push this out to the providers - who will then have to make that hard choice. But, only because the district has already basically said it can't afford these activities for everybody either. I'm sure Ron English is hoping that there's no way for families to really sue all these little organizations and that the status quo will reign supreme. Make no mistake though, that status quo is cheap activities on the backs of the disabled. Their parents pay to have a building (that their kids don't get to fully use), their parents pay for those volunteering staff (though we choose to call those extra things "free"), their parents pay for staff to run the newletters and office staff that inevitably get sucked in.

Really, this whole thing is an end run around IDEA and the ADA. If schools didn't have all these freebies (which really aren't fee to those who don't get them) then they would be forced into spending more on regular enrichment. If people could just get a bunch of services that look like freebies, then they might vote to provide better funding for their schools. When they know their kid can benefit from these private efforts, then they have no incentive to ever vote in adequate funding for everyone.

-Reader 1

mirmac1 said...

No intentional boorishness here, but listening to English's dissembling, I feel like puking. Just the usual 'we've created some kind of false emergency so we'll do some seat-of-the pants junk, then when we're caught in the act we'll convene an "internal" working group to do damage control.' And retroactive public engagement will begin tomorrow.

An agency that offers substantial support, and wishes to continue receiving federal funds, then uh they have to comply with the federal law. No amount of "benchmarks" or "urgency" or falsely claiming they wish to "help the children now" erases this duty.

I'm amazed at how much our legal department claims to not know when they cook up this stuff: how many kids this may impact (unknowable because so many parents are told their kids can't participate); how much this may cost; what third-parties might fall under this policy etc.

English thinks after school programs don't apply to FAPE or educational activities. He should read the proposed policy itself, which define "school support organizations" as those that "support youth education and the mission of their school." This is the district that wants its cake and eat it too. We're not talking about Basic Education. And the false dichotomy is typical of the same ole slick spiels offered up to the board (e.g. handing 10 yrs of educational records to CCER is no different than what SPS does for the Feds. Uh, no.)

As I hyperventilate into a paper bag, I take pause to say I am disappointed in Director Carr's defense of admin's shoddy work. I believe that, once she reads the law and OCR guidance documents, she would realize that the proposed procedure is indefensible.

But let them try to enact it. I am already drafting the OCR complaint.

Jet City mom said...

I keep waiting for karma to bite Ron English on the butt.
He is way overdue.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Melissa and Charlie? Neither have updated this blog since Monday. Melissa last commented on this thread on Tuesday. No Open Thread on Tuesday. No reports on any meetings. It is very strange. Hoping they are both okay.

HP

mirmac1 said...

I'm sure there are important side projects and issues taking their attention.

Hope there's a Friday Open Thread so we can share info. I have an interesting tidbit.

Anonymous said...

HP,

Don't worry. A quick glance at Melissa's Twitter feed shows she's reporting on WA State Charter Commissions Public Forums this week and probably attending them.

Anyone have any news about the delay on the finalists announcement for the K5 Math curriculum adoption?

-Was There

mirmac1 said...

Interesting. I checked the veracity of English's claim that Tacoma and Bellevue have procedures in place like the one proposed for facilities use and accomodations. That is not true.

Tacoma 4260R

Bellevue 4260

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mirmac. Listening to the board meeting section on this topic you could see that English was kind of making it up as he went along, comparing apples to oranges. Carr tried to mitigate this but her intervention just called attention to the thinness of his claims.

Hoping that the Board requests the report from the outside attorney they said that they consulted with.

Reader

Anonymous said...

The thing that's really circular... "the district will convene Section 504 meetings"

Uhhhh. Why will the district "convene a Section 504 meeting" if the district is NOT responsible for the student's accommodations? Are we supposed to believe that they're holding the meetings because they're such nice people? You don't convene a meeting if you aren't the responsible party. Duh. The language itself is contradictory. And points back at the district!

If the district IS responsible for the student and IS responsible for conducting the 504 meeting, then it can't just decide what's going to be in the 504 plan before the actual meeting. (That's why parents and other people are EQUAL parties in the plan.)

And, what about students who have IEPs instead of 504's? THe district has always maintained that you don't need a 504 plan if you have an IEP. They better be really careful! Some accommodations might just get slipped into an IEP... that lands the responsibility right back in their lap. Try as they might to punt this football.

-sped parent