Report 2019-108 Recommendation 12 Responses
Report 2019-108: Sacramento City Unified School District: Because It Has Failed to Proactively Address Its Financial Challenges, It May Soon Face Insolvency (Release Date: December 2019)
Recommendation #12 To: Sacramento City Unified School District
To prevent a similar fiscal crisis in the future, Sacramento Unified should do the following by July 2020:
Adopt a policy that guides staff on steps they should take to ensure that special education expenditures are cost-effective. The policy should include consideration of options for offering services, including those provided by district staff or by contracted providers.
6-Month Agency Response
The District has several policies and procedures which are relevant to the utilization of cost-effective practices in special education. It is important to ensure that these policies remain compliant with the District's legal obligation to design special education programs in response to individual student need and not solely based on cost. In an effort to balance these goals, a complete review of the District's policies was completed and are reflected in the proposed changes to policies and regulations that the District is providing to the Auditor, including BP/AR 6159 and 6159.2 which clarify that only when the district is unable to provide direct special education and/or related services to students with disabilities, may it enter into a contract with a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency to meet the student's IEP needs. In AR 6159, language is added to reference the special education procedural manual which provides guidance to staff on the utilization of various cost-effective strategies. Language is also included regarding process to ensure due diligence for determining the necessity and regular evaluation of such placements. The District will also consider the addition of a Board Policy addressing Least Restrictive Environment, with the inclusion of language aimed at the utilization of cost-effective practices.
These updated policies will be evaluated together with the SPED department-wide reviews described at the 60 day update for a comprehensive SPED improvement plan that is expected to be presented to the Board in fall 2020.
- Estimated Completion Date: Fall 2020
- Response Date: June 2020
California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending
60-Day Agency Response
SPED Policy is currently being reviewed and developed to provide greater guidance on the consideration of cost friendly alternatives for providing FAPE to students, including regarding mental health resources available from outside entities and relating to residential placements.
The District is also currently undergoing a broader Special Education Department review with the assistance of CCEE, and anticipates additional outside experts also being utilized by the District in the coming months that will further evaluate the effectiveness and equity of the District's SPED services.
Currently there is a focus on the development and implementation of a strong multi-tiered system of support ("MTSS") which the District believes will strengthen classroom and site based teaching/learning and interventions for students whereby over time referrals for special education services can decrease due to student need being met prior to a referral for services.
- Estimated Completion Date: July 2020
- Response Date: February 2020
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.