Friday, February 5, 2010

Parent: Dr. Weast Violated Board Policy. Will They Let Him Get Away With It?

On Tuesday, the Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the FY11 budget, which includes a proposal to dramatically change the way the county serves preschoolers with special needs. As the vote nears, more questions are being raised about the program and the way Superintendent Weast is trying to push it through, despite the objections of parents and special ed advocates. Here is a letter that a parent wrote to Patricia O'Neill, president of the board.

Dear Mrs. O’Neill:

Please fulfill your responsibility to establish effective board policies by rejecting the Superintendant’s transparent attempt to circumvent Policy AEB by mischaracterizing his plan to establish a new program as a “realignment” of funds. Policy AEB, entitled “Strategic Planning for Continuous Improvement,” clearly states:

The superintendant shall present to the Board any significant changes to the strategies and initiatives in the strategic plan, including establishing new programs, eliminating existing programs, or making major changes to programs in a manner that provides the Board an opportunity to offer suggestions on the proposed changes before the superintendant finalizes his/her recommended budget.

The superintendant has clearly violated Policy AEB by including his proposal to start a new special education preschool program in his recommended FY2011 Operating Budget once again denying the Board, parents and other stakeholders the opportunity to offer meaningful input before the budget is finalized. Even more egregious he has hired the first teacher for this program which is opening this month even before his budget recommendation has been approved.

The Board amended Policy AEB in May “to reflect the Board’s strong commitment to include staff members, students, parents, and other community members on the School Improvement Team for each school; reflect the alignment of the strategic planning process with budget preparation procedures; and to outline the opportunities for community input into the budget preparation process.” When the Board considered the revised policy, members noted that the proposal to eliminate the learning centers was introduced to the Board through the operating budget and stated that there needed to be discussion about programmatic decisions prior to the Superintendant’s delivery of the budget. The Board approved the amendments over the Superintendant’s objections. What was the point if he is going to ignore the policy and you refuse to enforce it?

At the budget working session on January 28, Mr. Durso asked how MCPS and the Board can overcome some credibility issues. Following and enforcing your own policies and procedures would be a good start.
Post a Comment

Disability Scoop

Special Ed News (Education Week)

Special Education Law