Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 1:56 pm | Partly Cloudy 71º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara School Board Approves Draft Action Plan for Special Ed

Also on the agenda was a new combined position, which will come with a host of responsibilities but save the district about $15,000

Nearly a year after a consulting firm called out the Santa Barbara School District’s special-education program for being grossly inadequate, the school board on Tuesday approved a draft action plan to address the problems.

A stakeholder work group was created to help create program priorities that focus on organizational structure, communication, professional development and specific ideas for programs and services. Priorities range from basic — such as creating a vision statement — to the more complex tasks of establishing communication guidelines within the organization and among administrators, teachers and parents.

Tom Guajardo, this year’s executive director of special education, resigned after less than a year in the job, continuing the revolving door of program leadership in the past decade or so. Kerri Mills of the elementary district, one of the two directors, will take on the position beginning July 1, and a replacement will be hired to fill her spot.

The school board also discussed the job description of the director of student services and compliance position, which will combine the current position with the responsibilities of Bud Andrews’ position of director of safety, welfare and attendance, which is being eliminated. Michael Gonzalez, the current director, is retiring, according to Barbara Keyani, coordinator of administrative services and communications.

The merged position includes nearly all of the responsibilities of Gonzalez and Andrews, though oversight of certain English learner programs and district residency verifications have moved elsewhere.

With a downward shift in pay, the district expects to save about $15,000 with the change, according to district documents.

Gonzalez has the fifth-highest paying job in the district at about $136,000. Andrews, who volunteered to work at 60 percent of full time this past year, had a listed salary of $63,780.

The job description includes a huge to-do list, including code compliance with federal, state and district policies and regulations (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, physical education requirements and the education code), and oversight of all district student records, which includes juvenile court documents, transcripts and data collection for reports such as the California Healthy Kids Survey, among others.

The position will absorb most of Andrews’ attendance and discipline duties. Under the umbrella of compliance responsibilities, the person will oversee the truancy program, suspension and expulsion procedures, school safety plans and complaints regarding enrollment, transfers and graduation eligibility.

Also — yes, there’s more — included is the expectation that the individual meet with and maintain relationships with site administrators, local law enforcement and probation for serious discipline problems. Throughout all this, the director will help develop and advise on board policies and procedures in the areas of student conduct, attendance and services.

The nitty gritty of residency verifications — to root out enrolled students who don’t truly live within district lines — has been outsourced to a private investigator, though the director will monitor the practice. Andrews and finance director Meg Jette have said that residency verifications provide thousands of dollars to the school district.

According to Jette, for each student sent to his or her home district, the Santa Barbara School District saves at least $5,000 per year.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >