- Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 00:00
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Editor’s note: Linda Davis has served as coach for the King George Little League Challengers and is coordinator for King George Special Olympics. Her years of experience working with children in the special education program gives her a unique perspective on how the program is serving children with special needs. This is not a traditional news story — this is one woman’s perspective of one child’s situation.
Update on bobby
They say there are two sides to every story, so today I’m letting you know about some of the steps taken by the school division to develop an adequate IEP (Individual Education Plan) for Bobby.
After the last meeting, Bobby’s new IEP facilitator, Katie Feltner, supplied us with a list of testing facilities. Bobby’s mom was instructed to call those facilities to arrange an Independent Education Evaluation to help determine what Bobby needs so we can help write an IEP for him. Bobby’s mom tried calling the people on the list. As it turns out some of the folks on that list don’t do the testing Bobby needs. We can’t say everyone on the list doesn’t do the testing because some of the numbers supplied are no longer in service. The list appears to be useless and outdated, but it gave Bobby’s mom something to keep her busy over the holiday.
Feltner has also been trying to coordinate a new IEP meeting. She tried diligently to schedule a meeting a few days before Christmas. It didn’t work out because Santa’s arrival was imminent and the requested testing had not been completed.
We do not believe Santa Claus is responsible for this failure. We have a meeting scheduled for Jan. 18 and just the other day Feltner sent an e-mail asking if one of Bobby’s teachers could be excused early from the meeting. The meeting starts at 3 p.m., she can only stay until 3:30. In an effort to make an informed decision we asked if the teacher in question could provide info on Bobby’s progress. Feltner sent us an e-mail back that said in part, “Could you please clarify what you mean by progress?” We clarified. That’s progress, right?
Unbeknownst to us, a team of lawyers from Reed Smith, LLP retained by the division has been working hard on this situation too. Here is a summary of the services they have provided and the related cost.
Nov. 19: Review of communications and article from Dr. Nealon re a student privacy issue; draft email to Dr. Nealon, re: same; telephone conference with Dr. Nealon re same — $275
Nov. 30: Review of message from Dr. Nealon re a newspaper article and review of article — $55
Dec. 1: Office conferences with Ms. Mehfoud re issues in the newspaper article; telephone conference with Dr. Nealon re same; review of email from Mrs. Feltner re an email from the parent’s advocate and draft a response; office conference with Mrs. Mehfoud re the IEP meeting; draft email to Ms. Feltner re same — $275
Dec. 1: Review of newspaper article and complaints; communications to Mr. Adriano — $79
Dec. 3: Review of email from the parent’s advocate re demands for the IEP meeting; telephone conference with Mrs. Feltner re same; review of draft response to the parent re the IEP meeting; telephone conference with Ms. Feltner re same — $220
Dec. 6: Telephone conference with Ms. Feltner re communications from a parent’s advocate re an IEP meeting; review of numerous emails from the parent’s advocates re upcoming IEP meeting and a newspaper article; office conference with Mrs. Mehfoud re same — $192.50
Dec. 6: Review of communications and meeting with Mr. Andriano to discuss strategy — $150
Dec. 7: Telephone conference with Dr. Nealon re IEP meeting and correspondence from the parent’s advocates — $55
Dec. 8: Review of draft IEP — $55
Dec. 9: Review of IEP draft; review of email from the advocate re same — $165
Dec. 10: Telephone conference with Ms. Feltner re suggested revisions to draft IEP and re issues with the IEP meeting — $247.50
Dec. 13: Telephone conference with Ms. Feltner re issues for the IEP meeting — $55
As of Dec. 14 the division has spent $1,824 for lawyers to read the newspaper, give advice to special education administrators on writing an appropriate IEP, talk to other lawyers and review e-mails. Additionally, Reed Smith, LLP provided the division with an audio conference CD titled “Saying No the Legal Way in Special Education Meetings” for $225. The report of systemic noncompliance the division received from the VDOE did not mention the need for more lawyers, but alas, I don’t make those decisions, the school board does.
In closing, there is more “good news” I could share but because I know the school division may ask lawyers to read this article and charge $395 per hour to do so, I have limited the number of words and would like to respectfully ask them to read faster.
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