Despite budget surplus and following civil rights probe for its neglect of special needs students, LAUSD to cut at least a dozen special education classes | #students | #parents


Students return to class. (Image credit: AP/Emilio Morenatti)

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will be shuttering at least twelve special needs day classes across the city by August, a report by CBS Channel 2 revealed Thursday. The move comes even as representatives of LAUSD, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), the California Teachers Association (CTA) and other organizations crow daily about how the California schools are flush with cash.

This cynical attack on a vulnerable section of the student body also comes shortly on the heels of an agreement that the district had reached with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), after they had investigated LAUSD for violating the civil rights of students with disabilities and special needs.

What prompted the investigation were claims from parents of more than 66,000 LAUSD students with disabilities who complained that their children had been neglected since the beginning of the pandemic, with little or no education or specialized assistance, despite federal law requiring that districts provide free appropriate public education (FAPE).

According to the agreement with the OCR, LAUSD agreed to “take steps necessary to ensure that students with disabilities receive educational services, including compensatory services, during and resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In response to the OCR investigation, LAUSD offers no explanation for how the elimination of a large percentage of special needs classes across the city is in any way ‘compensatory,’ especially in light of the recent estimate by the Legislative Analyst of a $33 billion budget surplus for California TK-12 public schools and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget, which includes an increased per-pupil spending of $3,000.

As one parent in the Channel 2 report stated, “unfortunately, we are an afterthought, this community, the special needs community is an afterthought.”



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