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Keep Our Special Education Cluster Supervisors & Align them with the New Organization

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Sponsored by SEAC Co-chairs Vittoria Aiello, Amuthan Kannan, and Julie Reiley, and by Jeanne Taylor, Volunteer Parent Advocate  

Petition to Keep Our Special Education Cluster Supervisors & Align them with the New Organization

 Dear Members of the Board of Education:

We continue to have serious concerns about, and therefore oppose, the FY19 operating budget proposal to eliminate all 6 Special Education Cluster Supervisor positions.  The loss of the Special Education Cluster Supervisors, with their expertise, would be detrimental to families and the schools which serve them. 

 Instead of eliminating this position, we ask the Board of Education to keep the 6 Special Education Cluster Supervisor positions, pairing 2 Special Education Cluster Supervisors with each of the 3 new Area Associate Superintendents. This would maintain both the vertical alignment of OSSI, while keeping an enormously important special education resource for parents and schools -- a plan designed to improve student outcomes. In contrast, their elimination will only save $326,230 out of $2,586,584,370  -- and it will not improve student outcomes.  It will be detrimental.

 We are aware the proposed re-organization adds special education instructional specialists to work with directors within the three new areas.  However, these positions should not be created at the expense of the Special Education Cluster Supervisors, because they lack the level of expertise of the Special Education Cluster Supervisors.  As shown by their job descriptions, the Instructional Specialists would have to add approximately 16 new job duties to their current responsibilities in order to offer special education students the same level of expertise and support. Instead, the instructional specialist positions should be created in addition to, and to work with, the directors and, when needed, the Special Education Cluster Supervisors.

 The Special Education Cluster Supervisor is the go-to person for parents with questions or concerns about what the local school can or cannot provide. They are extremely knowledgeable about special education programs, services, and laws. Thus, they are an irreplaceable resource for families who have been unable to resolve concerns or disagreements about their child’s IEP with their school.  They are often crucial in avoiding the escalation of conflicts that lead to mediation or due process, which carry a potentially high financial burden for both the school system and families.   

 The loss of the Special Education Cluster Supervisors will also negatively impact schools.  It will make the Special Education Resource Teacher’s job harder.  We have heard from staff who are very concerned about their ability (or their school’s ability) to meet the needs of students without the support and expertise of their Special Education Cluster Supervisor.  Eliminating Special Education Cluster Supervisors will make the already demanding, and at times overwhelming, job of Resource Teachers even harder.

 When you take action on the FY19 Operating Budget we ask that you retain the 6 Special Education Cluster Supervisor positions, placing 2 Special Education Cluster Supervisors with each of the 3 new Area Associate Superintendents, and the students and families they serve.



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