Elk Grove Unified Board of Trustees updated on Inclusive Education program that was cut this school year

EGUSD Associate Superintendent David Reilly presenting an update to the Board of Trustees. |  Among the many problems facing the beleaguered...

EGUSD Associate Superintendent David Reilly presenting an update to the Board of Trustees. | 

Among the many problems facing the beleaguered Elk Grove Unified School District has been the abrupt discontinuation at the start of the 2022-23 school year for special needs students.  

The program that was discontinued without notice was the Inclusive Education program, which provided individualized study programs for students. The district cut the program citing staffing shortages. 

Immediately following the cut, parents of the children affected by the cut organized. The parents formed the group EGUSD Inclusion Stays, also called EG SPEAKS, to advocate for their children and the preservation/resumption of the program.

When this occurred last September, one of the group's founders, Brandon Morgan, criticized the decision and demanded action. Morgan wrote the decision by the school administrators to move the IEP teacher to other classes seemed "like it would be a good plan, but ultimately this plan robs Peter to pay Paul, and students with special needs will fall through the cracks and ultimately result in the district facing lawsuits over out-of-compliance IEPs (Individual Education Plans), and a lack of access to legally mandated equal access to educational opportunities."   

The group's members have pressed district administrators and trustees to address their concerns. In response, the program director, Associate Superintendent David Reilly, made a lengthy presentation to the trustees.  

Reilly's report included a review of feedback from outreach efforts and the district's response. While he did not provide specifics, Riley told the trustees a plan is under development. 

"We'll be developing specific action plans, and one of the primary goals is to increase opportunities for parents, guardians, and staff to engage programmatic services and service considerations," Reilly stated.

Morgan, who commented on the district's response before the presentation (see video below), said after the meeting, the district has been in contact with affected parents, which he said was encouraging. However, Morgan said the district appears to be "pushing the can down the road on the issue" and has not developed a meaningful plan to fix the issues they created due to this decision.

"We've seen our family impacted by the decision to downsize the inclusion specialists. Our son hasn't been receiving the time mandated on his IEP (independent education program) for his case manager to work with him," Morgan said. "There's no time in the schedule with their existing duties to take on any more."

He added parents have "been getting exposure to decision-makers around this issue. And that has given us some hope that we're being heard, but we are still apprehensive about the district not following through on anything."

Along with this situation, the district has been besieged by severe staffing shortages, labor strife, and ongoing concerns about the inequitable treatment of African-American students. The trustees will hear a follow-up report during one of their January meetings. 

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