KISD Special Ed Board Mtg-4

It was standing room during the Monday night KISD school board meeting, as Laura Thomas addresses the KISD school board on the Special Education audit.

Cuddy Law Firm PLLC, one of a handful of law firms in Texas that focuses on special education matters, weighed in Tuesday with an analysis of the Killeen Independent School District special education audit.

Sonja Kerr, director of impact litigation for the firm, attended the KISD board meeting Monday night when the audit was presented to the board.

Kerr and three other Texas special education attorneys commented in a news release from Cuddy, which represents some special education students who reside in the Killeen school district.

The advocates said they urge the Texas Education Agency and Killeen ISD to take “swift and immediate steps” to improve the services to children with disabilities by designing an action plan with concrete steps and firm deadlines, according to the release.

The Killeen Independent School District had released the audit completed by Gibson Consulting on Friday. Cuddy Law Firm highlighted four findings in the recently released special education audit:

Killeen ISD lacks sufficient staffing in key areas, including staff who evaluate students for special education and staff who provide direct services to students, especially students with behavioral needs.

Killeen ISD is excessively retaining students. The retention rate of first-graders and ninth-graders is especially high. The retention rate is higher than the state average in every grade from K-8.

Killeen ISD is sending excessive numbers of special education students to more restrictive disciplinary alternative programs.

Killeen ISD lacks consistent use of data to determine if individual children are progressing in their special education programs.

The entire 110-page report is available at www.cuddylawfirm.com.

“Sadly, the report confirms anecdotal information that we hear repeatedly from parents in the District,” Kerr said. “While we appreciate that KISD had the audit conducted, we have yet to see a detailed plan of action or even a time line for such a plan to fix the system and compensate those children affected over the years.”

Kerr also said the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act places the responsibility on the Texas Education Agency to take action if a district cannot or will not fulfill its obligations.

“We are watching closely to see what steps TEA will take to ensure children with disabilities receive the services that they so desperately need and remedies for years of lost services,” she said.

Other advocacy groups also expressed concern Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, this audit does nothing more than spell out what parents, lawyers and advocates in the community have observed for years,” said Sharon Ramage of the Ramage Law Group. “It is especially concerning that KISD’s first step is to hire a special education director who is neither experienced nor certified in special education. KISD has a history of failing to meet the needs of its disabled students. It now has the opportunity to turn things around and make education better for students with disabilities. Let’s hope KISD does not let the opportunity pass the students by.”

David Beinke, Director of Advocacy for Cirkiel and Associates, agreed.

Beinke said he has observed ongoing issues in Killeen ISD for more than a decade.

Dorene Philpot, special education attorney, said: “Having litigated numerous special education cases statewide, I believe that Killeen ISD is actually doing worse by its special education students than even some of the most historically deficient school districts, such as Beaumont ISD.”

Contact Lauren Dodd at ldodd@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7568

(7) comments

schiperno

You know what's really interesting about what "UT Fan" has to say? Is that he has been saying just that over and over and over for the past 6 months. For someone who "hates" KDH as much as he says, he sure spends a lot of time degrading the paper in article comments-- Most of which defend Craft and KISD.

Lawyers, in his opinion, parents, and the paper are all "bottom feeders" and KISD is defenseless.

If I had to guess, I'd bet money that UT Fan is employed by the district.

See you at tomorrow night's school board meeting, UT Fan?

cz14

COMPENSATE AFFECTED CHILDREN FOR THOES YEARS OF NEGLECT.YES-YES AND GET EVERY DIME FROM THE PAST AND PRESENT MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD. THAN TO THE BIG DOG, AND ALL THE PUPPYS DOWN THE LINE. EVERY TEACHER IN KISD WOULD NOT EVER SAY ONE NEGATIVE WORD ABOUT ANYTHING IN THE SYSTEM --YOU DO AND YOUR FIRED. AND YOU THE TAX PAYING CITIZEN, YOU GOT WHAT YOU DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO GO AND VOTE AND WOUND UP WITH THE SAME OLD POWER PLAYERS THAT TELL YOU HOW MUCH THEY CARE FOR YOUR KIDS. THEIR WOULD'T BE ANY BOTTOM- FEEDERS .MARK MY WORDS THE KISD STAFF WILL ALL BE GETTING PAY RAISES AND YOUR TAXES GOING UP.

UT Fan

The common link in this seriously biased article is LAWYERS, LAWYERS, LAWYERS! Wake up people! These are bottom-feeders looking for SPED parents to sue KISD and make $$$$$ for themselves! This "newspaper" hasn't bothered to try and tell an unbiased story. They have sided with the SPED parents 100% and the lack of journalistic integrity is appalling. KISD has admitted where they need to make improvements.But these lawyers are looking for clients and they have found a gold mine. KISD cannot comment on their side of the accusations, because they are bound by FERPA and HIPPA. So these parents can say anything, accuse anything and this "newspaper" will print one side. Sickening!

killeenadvocate

Common link between Beaumont ISD and Killeen ISD would be the special education attorney Heather Rutland.

momtaxpayer

Funny that some would say there isn't a problem with special education here in KISD, but "is actually doing worse by its special education students than even some of the most historically deficient school districts, such as Beaumont ISD."
Where's the TEA? Where's the accountability? It's been long enough!

GARD3N

An action plan with steps and deadlines- sounds good. Hope they have the staffing to handle all that!

texastorenado3

Looks like we have a conundrum here folks. We know that they found wrong so lets say from the "few" parents here lets get something done. Start parenting and then let the teachers do their job. Good job getting both sides of stories.[thumbup]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.