CPAA has developed a timeline depicting two real-life examples of CPS principals appealing to central office officials to use funds for special education student needs. These funds were already in the school budgets, but frozen, pending the outcome of the appeals. In constructing the timeline, CPAA has identified four categories of tactics used by CPS officials in the budget appeals process to deny special education services to students with documented academic needs. Those tactics are as follows:
1. Unresponsive Neglect
From not acknowledging receipt of the appeals to failing to answer requests for updates, CPS officials have established a pattern of using unresponsiveness to frustrate and delay principal efforts to obtain services for their special education students.
2. Vexatious Documentation
The most common manifestations of this tactic are repetitive IEP reviews, requests for principals to submit reduced versions of their original appeals, and CPS officials asking principals to submit the same document or type of document repeatedly at various stages of the process; documents such as student schedules are requested repeatedly after they’ve already been submitted multiple times.
3. Illicit Soft Denial
By “Illicit” we mean the dictionary definition of the term, which is “forbidden by law.” Illicit Soft Denials occur when CPS officials reject appeals for student services for reasons that are not permitted by law, such as “the student’s needs might change after the IEP reevaluation” or “your school has a higher than average number of paraprofessionals.” It is a “soft” denial in that it is rarely worded as final, but pending further review.
4. Other Delay Tactics
Delay tactics not mentioned above, including recommendations for “further” IEP review, unnecessary school visits, and redundant meetings.
In April, CPAA President Troy LaRaviere addressed the Chicago Board of Education regarding these disturbing tactics. While President Clark said the Board will look into the matter, CPAA does not plan on waiting. We will send you further information on our plans to advocate vigorously for ending policies and practices that undermine your ability to get needed services for your students.
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