5.

During the past 5 years of enrollment growth, BUSD’s existing site-based model for special education staffing has created inequities because the district provides every elementary school with the same number of credentialed teachers. This means that at larger schools these teachers have larger caseloads and are less available to their students and those in need of “response to intervention” services. How do you feel existing inequities should be addressed and what is the School Board’s role in the process?

Answers: 
Ty Alper

I agree that increased enrollment at a number of elementary schools has stretched special education staffing, making it difficult for all students to get the services they need. I favor adding special education staff where needed and where it is possible to do so. However, I want to be careful that special education teachers are not removed from one school to make up capacity at another school. Students with special needs have the same right and ability as other children to attend (or at least indicate a preference for) the school of their choice. This principle is supported by having a minimum level of special education support at every elementary school.

Josh Daniels

The contract between the District and our teacher’s union requires two full time special education staff at each site. While this was put in place many years ago for good reason, it also makes it difficult to allocate staff proportionally when there are limited financial resources. While we cannot negotiate in public, this is certain something that I will be looking at for the next round of negotiations.

Norma J F Harrison

Again, trying to adjust provision of equitable services gets limited by funding and availability. With the enormous abuse of teachers, starting with their pay, then with their position relative to the community, the students – the difficulty of maintaining a respectable relationship while being derided for undertaking this work – like much of work these days – high pay being the way to be respected, rather than content of the work done, it is unlikely that promising to rectify the imbalance will achieve that. The school board cannot change the social structure, --unless, of course, it commits to the long haul to do so. Doing the work to change the system we live in will allow us some joy we don’t presently access in our day to day working.

Karen Hemphill

I agree that the special education staffing should be reviewed as part of our review of all of our elementary support staff needs. This year for the first time, all elementary schools will be provided with RTI staff from District funds by Board action and will be reviewing program implementation, including the nexus between RTI and special education resource needs.

Julie Sinai

As mentioned above, I agree that the staffing formulas need to change. In regards to Special Education, as part of the LCAP, we funded Response to Intervention (RTI) coordinators for all the elementary school sites. This will hopefully alleviate some of the demands on Special Education staff. I would like to explore a staffing allocation that is aligned with the enrollment of students with special needs (504 and IEP) and not be arbitrarily aligned to whole school enrollment size. I also support adequate resources going into professional development for our teacher in implementing RTI and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS).

The School Board directs the Superintendent, and while I believe this is a high priority, we need a majority of the Board to agree so we can direct staff to come back with fleshed out proposals. The presence of families from our schools is extremely important as we have these deliberations.