Investigation of Davenport special education rare in Iowa

A pending state review of the special education program in the Davenport Community School District is rare in Iowa.

In the past three years, just one other school district — Iowa City — has been subjected to the special education audit. It will be done by a team of seven to 10 employees of the Iowa Department of Education, who plan to spend three days in the school district.

The audits are called “combined” because they involve both the special education program, and its finances, according to Staci Hupp, education department spokeswoman.

In all, Hupp said, the state has done combined audits a total of four times in the past three years.

Patti Pace-Tracy, director of special education for Davenport, will provide information on the audit to members of the Davenport School Board in a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The state’s concerns, according to Pace-Tracy’s memo:

• Davenport’s percentage of students with disabilities placed in restrictive settings is among the highest in the state.

• There are concerns with each student’s IEP, or Individual Education Plan. These center on individualized and the pre-determination of services, especially for students with behavioral issues.

• More concerns are on how Davenport removes students from school, via suspensions and expulsions.

• Davenport has reported the largest increase in special education expenses from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2017.

Source: Perspective: Investigation of Davenport special education rare in Iowa

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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