Back-to-school resource for parents who have children with IEPs and 504 Plans

Thanks to the RYH Special Education committee for putting this letter together for parents to send to principals before the start of school. We hope to have this translated into Spanish in the next week.

Dear Parents and Caregivers Who Have Children with IEP’s and 504 Plans:

CPS is taking another stab at cutting special education funding for the 2016/2017 school year by tossing the majority of the special education budget in with the general education budget and telling Principals to fund their special education positions first. Then, if Principals don’t have enough special education funding to pay for the special education services within a given school, that they should use general education funds to make up the difference. This throws the problem of inadequate special education and inadequate general education funding into the laps of Principals by pitting the needs of the students with special needs against the needs of students who are typically-functioning. While IEP and 504-driven special education services are legally mandated, these services are not necessarily being adequately funded.

You have the right to know if special education positions in your child’s school have been cut, as these cuts can negatively impact the general education classroom and the special education classroom. Do not enter this new school year without at least knowing if special education positions have been cut at your child’s school. It is only with this knowledge that you will be able to ensure that your child receives the legally-mandated special education services set out in your child’s IEP. Below is a form e-mail that you can send to your school’s Principal.

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Dear Principal _________________:

I am concerned that there may be a decrease in legally-mandated special education services within our school in the coming 2016/2017 school year due to CPS’s new budgeting system that combines special education funding and general education funding. Can you please provide me with the following information before the start of school?

1. Compared to the 2015/2016 school year, has there been a decrease or increase in the number of special education teachers in our school? If so, how many more or less?

2. Compared to the 2015/2016 school year, has there been a decrease or increase in the number of paraprofessionals in our school? If so, how many more or less?

3. Compared to the 2015/2016 school year, has there been a decrease or increase in the number of case managers in our school? If so, how many more or less?

4. Compared to the 2015/2016 school year, has there been a decrease or increase in the number of students who have IEP’s within our school? If so, how many more or less?

5. Compared to the 2015/2016 school year, has there been a decrease or increase in the number of students who have 504 plans within our school? If so, how many more or less?

6. How many students with IEP’s in our school are serviced in LRE3?

7. How many students with IEP’s in our school are serviced in LRE2?

8. How many students with IEP’s in our school are serviced in LRE1?

Thank you in advance for this information.
Very truly yours,
[Parent name]
Parent of [Child’s name]
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Parents and caregivers must let CPS know that we are aware that, contrary to the assertion from CPS that “there will be no cuts to the classroom,” that at many schools there are cuts to special education staffing and general education class sizes have increased. While CPS offers an “appeals” process for special education funding, there is no transparency around the ODLSS appeals process. In addition, while cluster programs are still funded centrally through ODLSS, some principals have reported that special education teaching and paraprofessional positions within cluster classrooms have been cut by ODLSS and the Principals have been told that they have to pay for these legally-mandated positions by using general education funds.

Coming Soon! New monitoring tool to ensure that your child’s IEP and 504 minutes are being met with the upcoming release of RYH’s 2016/2017 IEP Compliance Confirmation Worksheet.

The below link allows you to copy & paste then customize the principal letter above:
http://bit.ly/PPalLetter2016

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