California School District Cited for Inadequate Services Fresno Unified school district is violating California education law that mandates schools provide speech services to children with communication impairments, according to a state investigation. The investigation addressed three allegations made by Fresno Teachers Association union officials: Students who are eligible for speech services aren’t receiving them; annual Individualized Education ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   February 01, 2015
California School District Cited for Inadequate Services
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School-Based Settings / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   February 01, 2015
California School District Cited for Inadequate Services
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB4.20022015.12
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB4.20022015.12
Fresno Unified school district is violating California education law that mandates schools provide speech services to children with communication impairments, according to a state investigation.
The investigation addressed three allegations made by Fresno Teachers Association union officials: Students who are eligible for speech services aren’t receiving them; annual Individualized Education Program meetings for some students were not held; and not all staff required to attend IEP meetings did so. The union was reacting to concerns of several district speech-language pathologists.
The California Department of Education found all allegations to be true. It discovered that 21 of the district’s 106 schools don’t have an SLP and more than 500 students have received fewer services than called for in their IEPs.
According to the report of the investigation, the district has 71 SLPs in 106 schools serving approximately 3,270 students with speech-language needs.
The state is requiring district officials to follow the law and has issued six specific directives. The district must:
  • Implement a plan by March 31 to provide and monitor speech-language services to all students whose IEPs require them, and to staff schools without dedicated SLPs.

  • Inform the education department if more schools lose their SLPs and how the parents of affected students in those schools are notified.

  • Create a spreadsheet that documents all students with special language needs, the types of services they require, and how many days or weeks of compensatory sessions they’re owed.

  • Update the spreadsheet quarterly through October 2015.

  • Develop a procedure to ensure accurate reporting of speech-language services.

  • Train all special education administrators and staff on compliance with state laws.

Fresno Unified has had a shortage of SLPs for more than a decade, according to district officials. It has tried to compensate by offering services after school and during the summer for students who attend schools without a full-time SLP.
The district also is actively recruiting qualified staff, evaluating retention strategies, and reviewing and analyzing its SLPs’ caseloads.
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February 2015
Volume 20, Issue 2