Davenport School board approves special education plan

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Davenport, Iowa (KWQC) The Davenport School Board of Education approved the Special Education Plan presented by Special Education Director, Patti Pace-Tracy.

The plan was based on the guidance and recommendations that the Department of Education allotted the Davenport School District. Overall, the plan addresses the special ed services offered at the Davenport school district.

The Special Education plan has to be looked at every five years and approved by the board. This year the plan was open for public discussion after an audit completed by the Iowa Department of Education determined several areas of the the Davenport Community School District's special education program are "out of compliance."

"Some of the public comments were very personal in nature and didn't apply to the context of what we were discussing," said Tracy.

The plan talks about how the district will provide services to students who are in special education and those who might need minimal services from the special education program, among other topics.

One special education parent, Kari Dugan from Central High school, feels the special education department is not doing enough to involve parents.

"Some of the concerns with me and parents I've talked to is the involvement parents are given." says Dugan. "Any time you get to a certain point with someone at special ed, they stop communicating with you. Then you have to dig up someone new, and they stop communicating with you."

Tracy assured the school board that parents were given the opportunity to participate in discussions over the plan. Meeting were held in the months prior were parents were invited to attend. She reports attendance at these meetings were low. There was also a chance to make comments online. Those public comments totaled to 9.

"We do not send letters to parents," says Tracy when asked whether parents were reached by letter to participate. "that would mean sending out 26 hundred letters."

Instead the district opted to create a committee of parents they saw fit to participate in discussions. The parents were selected by recommendations. She assures that these parents were not all pleased with the way the special education program was running, and that she appreciated their input in the process of updating the plan.

"We came to a previous meeting to give feedback and were purposefully uninvited to the next meeting," says Dugan. "We disagree that the district is trying to involve parents."