Oppose Drastic Cuts to the 2012-2013 Special Education Budget
  • Petitioned OUSD School Board

This petition was delivered to:

OUSD School Board
OUSD School Board Member, District 1
Jody London
OUSD School Board Member, District 2
David Kakishiba
OUSD School Board Member, District 3
Jumoke Hodge
District 4
Gary Yee
OUSD School Board Member, District 5
Noel Gallo
OUSD School Board Member, District 6
Christopher Dobbins
OUSD School Board Member, District 7
Alice Spearman
OUSD Deputy Superintendent
Maria Santos
OUSD Superintendent
Tony Smith

Oppose Drastic Cuts to the 2012-2013 Special Education Budget

    1. Inga Wagar
    2. Petition by

      Inga Wagar

      Oakland, CA

  1.  
  2.   
June 2012

Victory

From The OUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education: We maintained current positions and staff, prevented increases in class size and caseloads, preserved current levels of funding for programs, and stopped the ill-timed and dangerous re-structuring of Special Education. We also won a full community and staff process for any changes to Special Education in OUSD. We can take a well-deserved moment to celebrate the way in which our community came together in principled defense of the precious children that we serve. We are also poised to fully partner with others in OUSD to improve the support available for Children with Special Needs and to dramatically improve the education that our children receive and their place within schools and OUSD. We also thank all of the community partners and allies who stood by us in this emergency and contributed to our success. Thanks for believing in our collective capacity to bring about positive change.

As a parent of two children with special needs and a member of OUSD's Community Advisory Committee (CAC), I am very concerned about the education of our children.

The OUSD Special Education program, Programs for Exceptional Children (PEC), is suffering unprecedented cuts, and the elimination of basic supports and services, that will drastically affect our children at the start of the 2012-2013 school year and for years to come. The cuts attack what is most basic to Special Education in OUSD and will deny many children their right to a Free and Appropriate Education. Special Education ensures that Children with Disabilities receive an appropriate education through specialized supports.

 • The District's plan is to increase the size of Special Day Classes, though they are already opening with 16 or more students. Special Education requires a small student-to-teacher ratio.

 • The District's plan is to not rehire Special Education aides who separate from OUSD, though nearly a fifth of all Special Education classrooms are already short-staffed. Special Education requires that teacher and aide positions be fully staffed.

 • The District's plan is to max out Resource caseloads to the state cap of 28 students, which could mean all Resource Specialists traveling among 2-3 school sites to serve students in up to eight different grades. Special Education requires that Special Education staff is not spread across many sites so that they can be full members of school communities and collaborate to serve and integrate children with Special Needs.

 • The District's plan is to "consolidate" all the Program Specialists and to rehire a reduced force at an undetermined time. Special Education requires that students and programs are fully a part of school communities and that they are not suddenly torn from sites in the name of consolidation.

 • The District doesn't plan to have any Program Specialists when school opens in the fall and there are no plans in place to fill in for their duties. Special Education requires knowledgeable Program Specialists who support the collaboration of families, staff, and administrators and who coordinate services.

Who will help parents when students need different programs to meet their needs or when there is a serious safety concern that needs immediate attention?  Who steps in when bus service gets messed up and a student gets sent to the wrong school or doesn't get picked up at all?

We oppose the proposed Special Education budget because it will irreparably harm our children.

We call for the reinstatement of all of the Program Specialists.

We ask that Special Education in OUSD be funded at or above its current level to ensure its stability and allow for future improvements.

THESE CHANGES VIOLATE BASIC RIGHTS to a FREE AND APPROPRIATE EDUCATION.

For information on the OUSD Community Advisory Committee and more ways that you can participate or voice your opinion on these proposed budget cuts, please go to our wiki page at http://oaklandcac.pbworks.com.

Thank you.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. WE WON!!

      Inga Wagar
      Petition Organizer

      We maintained current positions and staff, prevented increases in class size and caseloads, preserved current levels of funding for programs, and stopped the ill-timed and dangerous re-structuring of Special Education. We also won a full community and staff process for any changes to Special Education in OUSD.

      We can take a well-deserved moment to celebrate the way in which our community came together in principled defense of the precious children that we serve.

      We are also poised to fully partner with others in OUSD to improve the support available for Children with Special Needs and to dramatically improve the education that our children receive and their place within schools and OUSD.

      We also thank all of the community partners and allies who stood by us in this emergency and contributed to our success. Thanks for believing in our collective capacity to bring about positive change.

      The OUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education

    2. Reached 750 signatures
    3. The Education Report, Katy Murphy's Oakland Schools Blog

      Inga Wagar
      Petition Organizer

      Stacey's Smith's guest post on Katy Murphy's Oakland schools blog provides an excellent synopsis of the current situation with the Special Education budget and details the confusion and unanswered questions surrounding this.

    4. Reached 100 signatures
    5. Wiki page for the OUSD Community Advisory Committee

      Inga Wagar
      Petition Organizer

      For more information on the OUSD Community Advisory Committee and to find out how to participate or voice your opinion on the proposed Special Education budget cuts for the 2012-2013 school year, visit our wiki page.

    6. Reached 5 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Keithan Jones SAN DIEGO, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      Because apparently real adults are becoming extinct. Cutting education is a waste period.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Stacia Hatfield OAKLAND, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      Don't cut services to the most vulnerable population. Perhaps we need to lock up less people so we have less pension obligations to our prison guards and can spend more on schools.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Naomi Hatkin OAKLAND, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      "Special needs" children deserve the same Free and Appropriate Education as any other child. Balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable population is the oldest and cruelest political trick in the book. We can do better. Re-do the budget to be fair to all - which is what should have been done the first time around.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Gayle Joseph PHILADELPHIA, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      granddaughter is a student in the Oakland Schools

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Carol Dawson Rose SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      I am a public health nurse in Oakland and I believe this will be detrimental to the community and ultimately decrease the public's health especially children's.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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