This morning, we received a comment from the parent of a special needs child. We are publishing it as the Comment of the Day because we are tired of hearing Pro-Referendum Supporters state that curriculum needs are completely separate from the infrastructure needs at HMS. Yes, since its inception, this blog has focused mainly on the state of curriculum in D181 because that has been the primary area in the district that has had problems and negative impacts on all students. We have never said we don't support building a new HMS, but we have been clear (as have most of the readers commenting) that we are not willing to support construction of a building that has millions of dollars in added WANTS and not NEEDS.
Today's comment of the day is directly on point. We believe all of the pro-new HMS parents need to ask themselves the following questions: How can D181 continue to ignore the NEEDS of our Special Needs Students? When will that "Unfinished Business" be completed? In our
opinion, until the business of providing appropriate services to our Special Needs children is meaningfully and successfully addressed, no WANTS in other areas should be funded.
COMMENT OF THE DAY:
Parent of a Special Needs Child said...
Mrs. Mueller: Thank you for acknowledging that the SPED department is a mess. My child has suffered as a result and it is not right. You are correct that the board members have been asking for the administration to assess the SPED department for some time now, but there has always been an excuse to delay it. The most recent excuse is that it should be rolled into the Strategic planning process. Enough is enough. Really, how hard would it have been for the person in charge of that department to order all of his staff to collect data on the services being offered, the success or lack thereof of these services, the costs compared to LADSE and the efficiencies and increased quality of services (if any) that have been achieved since leaving LADSE? This is data that should have been collected since the very first year that D181 withdrew from LADSE. Was it? Who knows? Was it analyzed? Clearly not. And there really is no excuse for this. There has been no accountability for this failure. No superintendent since the withdrawal raised concerns or red flags about the state of the SPED department and most of the BOE was lax enough to assume this meant there were no problems. It is not enough to hire a new head of SPED in D181. The analysis should still be done and persons responsible for the past failures should still be identified. If any still work here, they should be dealt with. Then and only then will people really start to trust what is happening in the central office. Until then, you can't really expect families of SPED kids to support building a new middle school, especially if their kids won't be attending it. It's absurd to use the equity or "Unfinished business" theme to support the new school when these kids education within existing buildings has been subpar due to SERVICES not INFRASTRUCTURE. How about finishing the UNFINISHED business of making sure our NEEDIEST children are provided appropriate services? Start with that and finish that FIRST before asking me to pay any more tax dollars. It truly offends me that so much attention has been paid to building one school to the detriment of all the special needs children in D181.