A Message To School Parents From the Superintendent:
APPROVED MOTION from JULY 30, 2013
Whereas by Letter dated July 18, 2013, the Connecticut State Department of Education informed the Darien Public Schools of a number of findings of noncompliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and
Whereas further allegations have been made concerning IEP changes without adequate parent notification, and
Whereas concerns have been expressed that utilization of such training materials and/or such IEP changes may have adversely affected the educational programs of Darien students, and
Whereas the Darien Board of Education and the Superintendent are committed to assuring that such concerns be investigated independently and thoroughly, and
Whereas the Board of Education wishes to involve parents in remedial steps to restore confidence in the special education programs in Darien,
Now therefore the Board of Education takes the following actions:
1. Attorney Susan Gamm is hereby appointed as independent investigator of these allegations as specified in the related contract, and the Board authorizes its Chairperson to execute the related contract.
2. The Board will hold a public hearing on August 8, 2013 at the Darien Town Hall Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. to hear from parents as to what qualities and experience that they would recommend the Board seek in appointing an independent person to oversee special education in Darien during the 2013-2014 school year.
3. The Board will establish a personnel search committee to identify, interview and recommend an independent person to oversee special education in Darien during the 2013-2014 school year, which committee shall include at least two parents of Darien students.
4. The Board directs that Ms. Theresa DeFrancis provide it and the community periodic updates concerning the status of her revision of training materials to comply with legal requirements, retraining of Darien staff and related parent involvement.
5. The Board solicits parent and staff input prior to August 8, 2013 on the following procedures to address parent concerns over the potentially adverse impact of incorrect training materials and/or IEP changes on the education of their children, at which time the Board may take action to establish such procedures:
a. Parents who have such concerns may contact their building administrator to discuss concerns and possible agreement on an IEP amendment as allowed by state and federal law to address those concerns.
b. If such discussion does not result in agreement, or if a parent prefers a more formal process, a parent may request that a meeting be convened with Darien staff before an impartial person knowledgeable in special education matters (e.g., a person who has previously served as a special education hearing officer) to present evidence informally and to receive a prompt nonbinding recommendation from such impartial person as to whether and how to resolve the parent concerns.
c. These informal processes are intended to facilitate prompt resolution of parent concerns, and they do not affect the rights of parents to request a meeting of the planning and placement team or to request a due process hearing, both of which are rights guaranteed by law.