CCS Board Creates Special-Education Administrator Job

CCS Board Creates

Special-Education

Administrator Job

As Services Leap 40%, Public Told,

‘Litigious Environment’ Requires It

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

CCS board President Tim Hayes, right, and Superintendent Bill Crankshaw listen to inputs from board members as this evening’s meeting. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – With 14 percent of Cooperstown Central students in special-education programs, up from 10 percent a handful of years ago, the school board this evening created a new administrative position: “director of pupil services.”

With the complexity of the services growing, and the “litigious environment” – parents suing who are dissatisfied with the level of service – even school districts Cooperstown’s size (831 in K-12, it was reported this evening) are creating such jobs, Superintendent of Schools Bill Crankshaw told his board.

Veteran school board member Tony Scalici wondered where the public has been sufficiently prepared for the hiring of a new high-level executive, and possibly an expensive one. Crankshaw and board President Tim Hayes had mentioned no salary range.

Without engaging Scalici, the board then approved the new position unanimously, and Hayes said salary will become public when the ads are placed for the new administrator.

As it happened, given the discussion of parent concern about services provided, a mother addressed the school board during the public comment section: “My child’s needs … are not being met and the special-education system is not being followed as NYS Department of Education requires.”

Her child has been diagnosed with SM, Selective Mutism, a social-communication anxiety disorder:  The child speaks in comfortable situations –  at home, for instance – but not in uncomfortable situations, such as school, she said.

“It is not a choice, but a physical response in which the child cannot speak,” she said.  “Most children with SM want to speak, including my child.”  She went on the detail specifically where she views the CCS program falling short.

For instance, “The school is providing information to administrators and the BOE that misrepresents CSE meetings and reports information that is inaccurate and portraying my child’s needs counter to what is said by team members at the meeting.” (A CSE is a multi-disciplinary Committee on Special Education.)

Due to board policy, as explicated by Hayes, school board members do not answer questions from the audience, and either he or Crankshaw would get back to the mother.

On the new hire, “I do think this will be tough search – a mid-year search,” Crankshaw told the board.  “We will need to be diligent.”

The financial piece of the new job was discussed to some degree, with Crankshaw saying, since the budget is in place, money will have to be found in existing lines to fund the new position.  Some new teachers, for instance, have coverage elsewhere, and decline to accept the full benefits package.  That can free up as much as $30,000, he said.

“We’ll have to adjust the budget from lines where we know we have savings,” he said.

Currently, the pupil services job is being handled by “a teacher on special assignment.”  But “as needs become more complex, more specialized,” that isn’t sufficient.  “Compliance” with guidelines, he said later, is becoming more essential.

Asked about the salary at during the public comment section at the end of the meeting, Hayes merely said “there was no salary stated” when the motion was approved.

He referred questions to Crankshaw, who said the job will pay less than $100,000, and is not considered at the level of the two principals.

The board then went into executive session, it announced, to discuss personnel and litigation.

On another matter, the school board said it will hold a “public forum” in advance of its Oct. 2 meeting to brief the public on details of a $5 million capital project.

 

 

 


2 thoughts on “CCS Board Creates Special-Education Administrator Job

  1. Nancy Areliusson

    Hiring another expensive administrator to keep from being sued, is not the answer. Fix the current administrative positions and train teachers in IDEA and how to implement special services and the problem will be fixed. Our Current Superintendent cuts special ed programs and services. And our Special Ed director chooses to ignore and bypass IDEA regulations and rail road students into off campus programs. This is where the increased litigation is coming from not from the lack of administrators. When I was involved in litigation with the school over a special education matter the members of the board refused to speak with me of the matter. They dismissed me as a PR issue. The special education director bluffed the school’s way to a hearing that my student and I easily won. Hiring a new administrator is not the solution. Replacing the ones we have is the solution.

  2. William Carnesss

    There is something foul afoot at Cooperstown Elementary that’s for sure. Though I doubt it’s purposely malicious, the whole culture there is maddening.

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