Three months and two attorney general requests later, the Killeen Independent School District released an additional “separate” report related to the special education audit conducted by Gibson Consulting Group.
The 69-page analyses details information about special education student retention, performance and discipline. In addition, the report offers extra information about the data used to conduct the analysis and the racial and disability break down of special education in Killeen ISD.
The separate “Killeen ISD Special Education Archival Data Analyses,” dated December 2015, was released to the Herald a week after the district filed a request to the Texas attorney general to withhold the report from the public — a request the district later withdrew.
The “separate” report was unknown to the public and the Herald, until an analysis of the district’s draft audit reports a few weeks ago revealed its existence.
Greg Gibson and his staff analyzed more than 190,000 Killeen ISD, general education and special education student records over a five-year time period from 2010 to 2015, according to the report. Those records represent “about 75,639 individual, unique students across this time period,” according to Gibson’s report. The report doesn’t specify the number of special education students used in the comparison, however, one measure is the 2011 number of 4,772 special education students, according to a citation in the report.
The report compared the “outcomes” of the special education students versus the general education students in Killeen ISD. The data breaks down and analyzes special education students by primary disability, retention rates, instructional setting placements and the breakdown of disability by race — a category not cited in the final audit report.
The analysis found:
1 in 5 identified special need students in Killeen ISD did not receive services in 2011.
1 in 4 special needs students had their primary disability change at least once each school year.
1 in 3 special needs students had their primary disability change 2-3 times across their entire tenure in KISD schools.
2 percent of special needs students had their disability change as many as 10 times between 2010 to 2015 school years.
Special-needs students classified as “Autistic” or “Learning Disability” saw the most changes during this period of time. More than 20 percent of special-needs students with these primary disabilities were re-classified as “speech impairment,” between 2010 and 2015. Students with speech impairment, the report states, are “more often not placed in a special education-related instructional setting.”
“Students with Autism, physical disability, and intellectual disability designations have the most changes, on average, particularly in high school grades,” according to the report.
In the final audit report, race is analyzed for three different reasons — STAAR testing trends, enrollment trends and disciplinary placements. In the separate report, race is analyzed by disability type and frequency.
A higher proportion of white, Asian and “Other” students are designated as having autism or a speech impairment. Black and Hispanic students have proportionately more students classified as learning disabled.
Road to report
The Herald and the public did not know of the existence of this separate report until the district released two draft audit reports March 11, just before spring break, http://bit.ly/1UJ7dBh. When comparing the draft documents to the final report, the Herald found a paragraph — citing a separate report — is missing from the final report presented to the public. It is still unclear who deleted this paragraph.
The missing paragraph is on page 22 of the January draft audit report.
“As part of the audit, student archival data was analyzed to explore student performance outcomes, retention rates and discipline involvement for KISD special education students. A complete report of this assessment is contained in a separate report. However, key excerpts from that analysis are incorporated into this chapter.”
“Key excerpts” from the analysis were included in the final audit report, but certain data was held back.
It is unclear why this data set and separate report were kept from the public’s view for months. It is also unclear who deleted this paragraph from the final report. Superintendent John Craft said he and his staff had nothing to do with it.
“District employees do not have the ability to make changes to drafts not final reports,” Craft said in a March 18 email to the Herald.
A recent freedom of information request for Craft’s correspondence with Gibson Consulting Group says otherwise:
A Jan. 3 email from Cheyenne Rolf, PMP of Gibson Consulting Group, to Craft:
“We have uploaded the draft report of the results of the special education audit to Egnyte. Once logged into the system, you will find the special education audit folder containing a reporting subfolder where the report is located. … Please provide a consolidated set of comments and edits to this draft by Friday, January 22nd.”
A Jan. 22 email from Cheyenne Rolf to Craft said:
“I understand that you and your team need additional time to finish going through the report as it contains a lot of information. Do you have an estimated date of when you plan to return the draft to us? Please include all questions related to data and other concerns as comments in the draft of the report you send to us. Also include any edits that you and your staff feel are needed (using the tracked changes feature). Once we receive all consolidated edits and comments, we will be able to address each one and make needed revisions before submitting our next draft.”
Craft told the Herald in an email March 18: “Questions pertaining to changes made from draft audit reports and final audit reports would need to be answered by Gibson Consulting associates.”
Gibson Consulting Group, although paid with taxpayer money and employed by the board of trustees, refused to answer the Herald’s questions.
“It is the practice of our firm not to discuss client matters with the media,” Greg Gibson told the Herald in a March 23 email. “All questions related to the internal audit of the Killeen Independent School District’s special education program should be directed towards the district.”