Mother’s Day — a time of pedicures, candy and flowers — was bittersweet for some local mothers, because it was also the day after the Killeen Independent School District school board election.
Saturday, three incumbent Killeen ISD board trustees were re-elected to third and fourth terms in some cases, despite the Texas Education Agency investigation of the district’s special education department.
For seven years, the state found, the district’s special education department was noncompliant. District officials are now trying to get it back on track.
A small group of people decided this election. Less than 3 percent of registered Killeen, Harker Heights and Nolanville voters cast a vote. Each challenging opponent lost by more than 15 percent.
This is why, for some mothers of special-needs children, the election results felt like a setback.
Three mothers advocating for change in Killeen ISD special education — Angela Garvin, Laura Thomas and Stephanie Moody — said the election aftermath was a hard pill to swallow.
“I’m disappointed that it didn’t go through,” said Laura Thomas. “Unless you are a special-needs mom, it just doesn’t quite always hit home.”
Thomas’ son attends Iduma Elementary School, where she has had problems, at times, obtaining special education services for her son, Rafe, who suffers from a rare condition, Schizencephaly, in which he is missing a large portion of the right side of his brain. (Read Rafe’s story at http://bit.ly/1VPAkoB)
Thomas said she is still hopeful for the future.“I really hope the school board members are going to take things seriously,” she said. “I think we proved to them that our kids deserve more and that they deserve better.”
Stephanie Moody, is the mother of a special-needs student attending Reeces Creek Elementary. For more than a year, she said she has had trouble obtaining appropriate educational services for her daughter, who has Apraxia, a neurological speech disorder. (Read more about Moody’s story at http://bit.ly/1UKPUkj)
“Today is a sad day for our family,” Moody said. “I feel like the community squandered a rare opportunity for change and let down my children.”
She said she hopes the next election is different.
“I know that a lot of people, who have never voted before, made it to the polls for this election,” she said. “It wasn’t enough, but maybe for the next election it will be.”
Angela Garvin, a new transplant to Killeen, removed her special-needs son from Reeces Creek Elementary after having enough, she said. (Read more about Garvin’s story at http://bit.ly/1Wj46m6)
Garvin no longer has her son in Killeen ISD, but said she hopes for better for other special education students and their families.
“I think parents are going to continue to fight for their children,” Garvin said. “My heart was filed with sadness, I cannot believe that this city didn’t see what this district is doing to future generations.”
On Mother’s Day, all three moms said their wish would be for more residents to get involved and pay attention to the district.
“Be more involved, get involved in the school board meetings,” Thomas said. “I really think you need to take an interest. Whether you have a special-needs child or not, it will affect your child down the road.”
On Tuesday at 6 p.m. the Killeen ISD board of trustees will receive the latest special education update. The public will also have an opportunity to speak. Meetings are held at the district administration building at 200 W. S. Young Drive.