Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lawsuit between District 100 and 200?

Last week I did not take proper notice of this Journal story.  It reminds me of my own candidacy story—unless you are willing to pay a lawyer you never know if District 100 will treat you right.  School District administrators and board members need to remember that the public holds them to higher standards than which occurs in the “business world”.  It looks like District 200 is carefully weighing its options for “just treatment”. 

Special Education
Changes Inspire
Dist. #200 Lawsuit

By Bob Balgemann
North Boone Community School District #200 may go
to court, hoping to stop Belvidere Community Unit School
District #100 from hiring about 45 teachers from the special
education program serving both districts.
The District #100 action has left about 26 North Boone
children in limbo, not knowing who, if anyone, will provide
them with those services during the 2010-11 school year.
District #200 board members voted unanimously March
18, following a four-hour executive session, to hire the
Chicago law firm of Franczek, Radelet, PC, to “prepare
pleadings,’’
which could include a request for an injunction
to rescind the District #100 action.
“We’re working on all options including an injunction,’’
District #200 board President Don Ward said Tuesday. “We
are working with the Belvidere people, trying to work this
out amicably.’’
Services for about 125 students in districts #100 and
#200 are provided by teachers and support staff through
the Boone County Special Education Cooperative. Staff
includes the teachers along with speech pathologists,
school psychologists and social workers. Those services
will continue through May, the end of the 2009-10 school
year.
But co-op Director Anne Risen, in her first year in that
job, said serving the North Boone children in the future is
an unknown at this point. “Everyone is pretty uncertain
about what the future will hold,’’ she said, adding that the
District 100 decision reduced the staff to herself and one
itinerant hearing teacher. “At this moment there is no staff
to teach the North Boone County kids,’’ she said.
It is not known if the co-op considered District #200 and
a rehire the teachers who resigned from the program.
She said District #100 did submit a letter of intent to
withdraw from the co-op by February 1, as required by
terms of the agreement. It then hired about 45 teachers from
the co-op and they in turned submitted their resignations to
the co-op board’s March 16 meeting. The board consists
of the superintendent, two school board members and
one principal from each district, who have equal votes on
matters.
Risen said District #100 makes up about 86 percent of
the special education program’s enrollment, with North
Boone accounting for the remaining 14 percent. The cost
of the program is divided according to the number of
participants. She said the co-op receives grants to help the
districts defray their costs.
Joel Moeller, District #100 assistant superintendent
for Administration and Human Resources, said the school
board’s action was done as a cost-saving measure. He
said there was no intent to disband the special education
program.
Ward and District #200 school board member Tom
Kinser represents that school system on the co-op board.
Ward called the District #100 decision “unilateral,’’ adding
that the co-op “had no vote on the Belvidere action.’’
That decision means District #100 will be providing
special education services for its students. But Ward
observed, “That leaves us on our own. I am sure there is
concern among Belvidere parents because there will be
changes for them, too.’’
Looking at the future, he said, “We are still fact finding.
There are a lot of options to serve these students; we will
figure it out. If there is a lawsuit, it will be on behalf of
North Boone students.’’
Boone County Journal reporter James Middleton contributed
to this report

Click on the following to read the story on the Journal’s website:  http://boonecountyjournal.com/news/2010/Boone-County-News-03-26-10.pdf#page=3

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