Has AISD Cleared its Special Education Backlog, or Not?

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After July 1 deadline, 77 evaluations still not complete


On June 30, Austin ISD made an announcement: its once-egregious backlog of hundreds of uncompleted special education evaluations was “no more.” The backlog, which had prompted a lawsuit and the complete reorganization of AISD’s special-ed department, was “due to be cleared by the district’s promised deadline of July 1.”

In an update it sent to the Texas Education Agency that same day — June 30 — AISD had a different message. Although the district had made substantial progress toward determining the special education needs of most of the students who have been waiting, 77 initial evaluations remained incomplete. The district told TEA it would aim to finish those by July 15. “The official written document didn’t show a complete catch-up,” Dustin Rynders, the supervising attorney for education at Disability Rights Texas (DRTX), told the Chronicle. “I still think we’re seeing a real lack of honesty and candor from the district.”

“Quite a few assessments have been done. I think that’s wonderful. Unfortunately, we don’t have the rest of the story,” Rynders said. “The whole reason that assessment matters is that assessment drives a plan for a child who’s struggling, and if the meeting hasn’t been held to develop a plan in advance of next school year, then it’s definitely too early to celebrate. Because that is still a child who’s going to start the next school year without the services they need in place.”

To read the full article, visit the Austin Chronicle’s Website.