GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Grand Rapids School Board will vote Aug. 6, whether to transfer operation of the center-based special education programs to the Kent ISD next year.
The 11 programs serve students from districts across Kent County with cognitive and physical impairments and autism spectrum disorder that exceed the capacity of their local districts.
Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal recommended transferring the programs Monday, July 16, during a board work session. She said the transfer would be effective July 1, 2019, if approved.
The move comes amid intense criticism of the management and leadership of both the center-based programs and the district’s own special education program by parents and teachers last school year. It prompted a program review by Kent ISD.
But Neal said that was not her motivation to recommend the change.
“This allows Grand Rapids Public Schools to really focus on our core business with our children,” said Neal, who has been seriously talking about transferring the programs for a few years.
Currently, there are 1,385 students in the center-based programs, including 485 from Grand Rapids.
The Kent ISD’s arrangement with GRPS to provide center-based services is unique. Statewide ISDs or regional education service agencies run the special education programs