Special Education Committee met on March 10, 2022

We started the meeting with a presentation from Mr. Anthony Aguilar, Chief of Special Education, Equity and Access and Dr. Maribel Luna, Senior Director, Special Education Division. They provided us with an update on the Special Education Virtual Academy.

  • We learned that LAUSD has 2,474 SWD enrolled in virtual academies. Of those students, there are 2,229 SWD in the core curriculum and 442 on the alternative curriculum.
  • TK is included in virtual academies and in the data that is collected.
  • Since the start of the school year, LAUSD has conducted 2,985 IEP’s.
  • 993 families previously attending virtual academy have returned to in-person instruction. (This is great because there is nothing better than having one on one interactions with teachers and peers)
  • Since these slides had data and contact information for the virtual academy PACE and Special Education administrators, the slides have been uploaded to the District Special Education website.

For the second presentation, Ms. Nirupama Jayaraman, Deputy Budget Director provided us with an overview of the Special Education Budget.

  • Even though there is declining enrollment in LAUSD, we see an increase in the number of students with moderate to severe disabilities that are enrolling in LAUSD.
  • Although we see a few sources of ongoing revenue, out of our total budget, we spend about $1.75 billion on special education, 97% of these expenditures are school based.
  • IDEA was supposed to provide 40 percent of the average national per pupil costs to cover the excess cost of educating students with disabilities. To this date, this has never happened.
  • If IDEA was fully funded, LAUSD would receive an additional $200 million dollars.
  • The District is still mandated to provide services no matter the amounts of funding they are receiving.
  • Based on these one-time funds, the Board will have to decide how to best prioritize and maximize these funds.
  • We will also focus on improving our systems so that schools receive immediate support.

Lastly, we took a look at inclusion models at two schools in LAUSD, Lanai Elementary and Chatsworth High School.

  • At Lanai, 25 out of 26 students will receive instruction in general education for at least 85% of the day and 17 classes engaged in inclusion activities at least once a week.
  • The school prioritizes professional development and planning for staff once a week.
  • 16 of 23 classrooms include students in both general education and special education.
  • At Chatsworth, they prioritize their instructional model by having two teachers in the classroom.
  • Teachers enjoy teaching both general education and special education students together.
  • Staff provided information on the lunch bunch program and the success it was among students.
  • Members asked how this program could be implemented at other school sites.

Committee members learned a lot from these presentations and they were engaged in the conversations. If you are interested, you can view the agenda and materials by visiting: https://boe.lausd.net/03-10-22SpEd.