Parents, educators disappointed in special needs staffing recommendations

By: Keely Arthur

Dec 10, 2018 10:55 PM CST

 

MADISON, Wis. – A new report is out recommending changes to Madison Metropolitan School District special education staffing. While the report recommends additional staffing overall there are cuts in some areas.

Parents and educators spoke against the report at the Madison Metropolitan School Board meeting saying the changes don’t go far enough in helping students with disabilities.

The report was done by outside consulting firm Education Resource Services. It suggests adding 10 additional special needs educators and six support staff members. However, it also recommends removing 3 positions at the middle school level.

“If we look at our student’s achievement data and if we talk to our teachers and families you know our middle schools are struggling,” said TJ Mertz, a member of the school board said. “So to pull out of middle schools is to me a red flag that there is something wrong with this analysis.”

Another concern is the fact that Education Resource Services interviewed staff but failed to talk to students and parents.

Anna Moffit, an advocate and parent of a child with autism, did praise part of the report which suggests  allocating staff members based off a child’s specific needs and providing additional staff to students dealing with poverty.

“Students dealing with poverty face many more barriers to getting adequate health care, mental health care, navigating the system so I do support that,” Moffit said.

The school board will now review the report and then decide whether to implement the recommendations into the budget.

They’ll vote on the next budget in the fall of 2019.

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