Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A peek at the NEW SPED Legal Liability Funding model

Notable Changes
  •  The FY14‐15 budget adds $300,000 for Outside Counsel contracts.
  •  The liability judgments budget decreases by $225,000 primarily due to the reallocation of
           $188,000 to Risk Management

Office of the General Counsel

Budget and FTE Changes,

Budgets Fiscal Year   Org Name   2014           2015         Change

04        General Counsel           $4,089,370   $4,304,267    $214,897

                                        Total  $4,089,370   $4,304,267    $214,897

General Counsel

Staff FTE Fiscal Year 2014      2015      Change

 Total                            20.3       20.2        ‐0.1

2015 Budget for Special Education

Department Overview

The Special Education department works collaboratively with school and District leaders, teachers,
students, and families to provide the tools, guidance, supports, and services needed to ensure
excellence and equity for students with disabilities. Primary functions include:
  •  Assess students with disabilities from birth to age 21 to determine appropriate service levels
  •  Support special education and general education teachers to develop learning plans for students with disabilities.
  •  Provide therapy services to students with disabilities
  •  Coordinate with Curriculum and Instruction to develop core content training for all teachers to
             insure that students with disabilities have academic success
  •  Meet legal and procedural compliance required to document services
  •  Work with private schools to use federal funds to support special education students that have
            been placed in private schools by their parents.

Notable Changes

 To address compliance issues, the Seattle School District developed a Comprehensive Corrective
Action Plan (C‐CAP). The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) approved the
C‐CAP in FY13‐14. The approved C‐CAP resulted in a mid‐year budget increase of $1.5 million
and 12.5 positions.
 The number of students receiving private contract placements more than doubled in FY13‐14
from FY12‐13. The FY14‐15 budget continues the $1.8 million contingency funding increase to
support student education needs that are beyond the scope of services offered by Seattle

 The FY13‐14 budget was increased mid‐year by $1.25 million to fund 25.5 Special Education
Instructional Assistant positions. These instructional assistants provide one‐to‐one support as
required by student Individualized Education Plans (IEP). These positions will continue in FY14‐
 To provide additional support for teachers, 1.6 Program Specialist positions were added in FY13‐
14. The FY14‐15 budget maintains these positions and adds $512,000 for an additional five
Program Specialists.
 After the adoption of the FY13‐14 budget, funding was added for IEP required summer services
known as extended school year. The extended school year budget continues in FY14‐15 for a
cost of $849,000.
 Caseload limits for Educational Staff Associate (ESA) positions have been established per the
2013 ‐15 Seattle Education Association (SEA) Collective Bargaining Agreement. ESA positions
include Audiologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Psychologists, and Speech
61 |and Language Pathologists.

 S e a t t l e P u b l i c S c h o o l s A d o p t e d B u d g e t 2 0 1 4 ‐ 2 0 1 5

 The FY14‐15 budget continues funding for three positions added
in FY13‐14 and adds two more positions as required by the collective bargaining agreement.
 The FY14‐15 budget adds $459,000 for benefit, salary step, and collective bargaining increases.
 Special Education support for nursing transfers to Health Services for a reduction of $468,000.

Budget and FTE Changes, Special Education

Description                         2014               2015                 Change
Adaptive PE                      177,223           181,887                  4,664
Additional Support        3,281,056         6,431,700           3,150,644  Wow, whats in this bucket?
Assistive Technology        367,712            493,400              125,688
Audiology                         445,936             453,799                 7,863
Behavior Consortium     1,031,474          1,056,839               25,365
Birth to Three                 1,802,906          2,350,654             547,748
Deaf/Hard of Hearing       476,592              517,228               40,636
DSU                                  300,000              300,000                        0
DSU ‐ 4B                          250,000              250,000                        0
Extended School Year        849,425             849,425
Health Services                   468,736          (468,736)
Home & Hospital Education 358,563          358,563                       0
Information Management     713,048           631,204              (81,845)
OTherapy                           3,993,712        4,255,000             261,287
Preschool                           1,585,266         1,579,267              (5,999)
Private Schools                     126,163            437,633             311,470
Professional Development    479,628         1,373,629             894,002
Psychology Services          4,848,449          5,107,113            258,664
School Materials                    239,375            239,375
Speech/Language Services 6,731,467          7,169,664           438,197
Supervision & Admin        1,130,486           1,567,585           437,099
Vision Services                      646,060             615,952           (30,108)
Vocational/Special Education 471,853            488,582              16,728

Grand Total             29,686,331        36,708,499        7,022,168

Updated Citizen Complaint numbers from OSPI - 300% increase!

As of today, there are a total of 16 special education citizen complaints filed against the Seattle School District for 2014. Of those 16 complaints, 2 were withdrawn and one decision is still pending.

For 2015, there are 3 complaints filed against Seattle School District. 

In 2013 there were 5 complaints.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Dyslexic students v. Seattle Public Schools getting underway?

Jarron Draper v. Atlanta Public Schools

Jarron Draper has dyslexia, a language-based learning disability. Despite of his efforts, he couldn’t read and go to college due to the failure of Atlanta Public Schools to provide him with a free special education program. This violated Section 504 and was the basis for Draper’s complaint.
The case concluded when the Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision in favor of Draper. The court ordered Atlanta Public Schools to pay for Draper’s tuition at a private special education school as compensatory education for their persistent failure to provide him with adequate education.

Friday, February 20, 2015

What is the Puget Sound Educational Service District ?

Not many people realize there's a shadow school district called ,Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) This organization employes around 300 people.

PSESD had significant involvement in handling the Special education data breach PR outreach. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Every Child Counts Act

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) last week as he introduced the Every Child Counts Act last week in the Senate.  The bill adds a 1% cap for [State] use of alternate achievement standards and for participation in alternate assessments on alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.  The bill is also supported by Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and is intended to help provide an important addition to the Senate ESEA reauthorization bill.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Who is the man behind the SPED curtain of failures.

UPDATE 9/2/2015 : 

The Seattle Public Schools general counsel announced his retirement Monday, according to Seattle Public Schools.
The counsel, Ron English, is 65 and has served in the position since 2011, says a news release. The release said English “stated he is leaving to spend more time with his family, including four grandchildren, and to travel.”
English was put on administrative leave in February for undisclosed reasons and was on leave when he notified the district of his retirement. The investigation was closed upon his retirement, with no findings, school district spokeswoman Stacy Howard said.

“… I want to personally thank Ron for his eighteen years of service to Seattle Public Schools,” said part of a statement from Nyland in the release.  “During his time at Seattle Public Schools, he provided legal guidance and direction to the District on complex business, procurement, construction, municipal, environmental, property and school law issues.”

Dear SPS colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that Ron English, General Counsel, has been
placed on paid administrative leave. Administrative leave is not disciplinary in nature.
It is an employer-directed removal of a staff member from the regular work
environment for an indefinite period of time. The leave is used to support
a fair, timely, and thorough investigation involving employee conduct. When
an employee is placed on paid administrative leave, there is to be no
contact between the individual and district personnel and/or students and

As this is a personnel issue, the district cannot comment publicly on the
matter. We encourage staff to do the same in order to respect the rights of
the individual on leave as well as protect the integrity of the investigation.
Assistant General Counsel John Cerqui will lead the legal department during
this time.

Thank you,
Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent

 From: English, Ron
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:31 PM
To: Banda, Jose L
Cc: SchoolBoard
Subject: Re: Conflict of interest in the legal dept.
I have forwarded this to the City Ethics Office for their action. I will note that we have spent
about $1 million annually on outside legal fees of all kinds and that I made the decision to
hire the Curran firm.
I welcome a review of our litigation management practices.
Ron English
General Counse