This is the fourth installment of the discussion last Thursday night at the Huntley School District 158 board meeting on spending Federal stimulus money under the IDEA grant program. Here are links to the prior stories: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
When we left off, newly-elected member Don Drzal was trying to find out what the special ed administrators would spend money now destined for Read 180, if the hoard decided to cut it back to a pilot program.
Assistant Special Education Director Karen Alward seemed to have already provided the answer in an interchange with board member Kevin Gentry.
Gentry was trying to find out how the special ed administrators had gotten down to the $800,000 in first year money that is available.
“We really didn’t have to say, ‘No,” to anything,” Alward told the board. (Alward is the one looking at the camera in this only shot that got all four special ed administrators’ faces.)
Later it was explained that some suggestions, like providing gift cards to students for accomplishing something, were made that just were not legal under the guidelines.
Board member Aileen Seedorf, who seems to be the patron saint of the Special Ed Moms waiting until last.
“I believe the parents would have expected something in this year,” she said.
“Is that correct?”
“Yes, “The Moms answered.
Seedorf asked about the classroom furniture. Board President Shawn Green had a similar concern.
Kevin Gentry took offense at what he thought was a Seedorf’s accusation that regular students were treated better than special ed students.
“If you’re right, we need to do something about it.”
Green agreed: “If you have specific concerns they need to be addressed?”
Seedorf repeated several times that the committee she has proposed could have investigated that line of though, but the board majority had decided not to allow it.
She burrowed in on Read 180 and took a jab at one of her fellow board members.
“I’m not interested in running for senate.”
“I’m not interested in running for senate either,” Gentry replied.
“Good for you,” Seedorf countered.
Seedorf wanted to know if the Read 180 pilot program “could be pared down to 15-20.
“How many do you need to buy to do a small study before you drop big bucks on this?”
Special Ed Director Cheryl Kalkirtz replied that they could also be used as part of an RIT initiative, that is, with at risk kids.
“Let’s get 30 licenses and see how the kids do,” board member Paul Troy added. He suggested that would be better than “buying 360 license today.”
“We need to give direction to the administration and move forward,” long-time board member Mike Skala said.
“We can’t just buy 360 licenses and go forward not caring whether they work or not,” Troy interjected.
“If the administration wants to change it and come back to us, I’m fine with that…but not the opposite,” Skala replied.
The board decided to ask for more detail on the Read 180 line item.
“We all trust you. You’re all professionals,” veteran board member Kim Skaja added.
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Read the whole series: