How will OUSD use its special ed stimulus check?

They’ve got the cash. Now’s your chance to tell Oakland Unified how it should spend about $5.5 million of its one-time special education stimulus money.

Oakland’s Community Advisory Committee on special education has until tomorrow to give feedback on this proposal. Apparently there are two rules: No new staff can be hired with this money, and it must be spent within two years.

You’re welcome to give your feedback here, and to share it directly with the committee by sending an email to cacoakland@comcast.net.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Judy

    One time monies should not be spent on salaries or additional staff, unless the school district has plans to continue sustaining these types of costs in the future

  • Debora

    The term “Exceptional Children” sounds like GATE – but I’m pretty sure it’s not. Are “Exceptional Children” learning disabled, functioning at Below Basic or Far Below Basic levels or is it something else?

    “Memory Sticks” I think those are flash drives, thumb drives or portable drives.

    Do we have any Reseach Driven Data that the proposed spending have proven to have any affect on the outcome of the targeted students?

  • Nextset

    I am watching several municipalities go through budget shortages. The overriding aim seems to not change a thing. They all want to keep doing what they have always done, the same way they have done it in the past. There is no move to re-engineer work flow, push more functions to the Internet, or even to adjust service hours.

    So my prediction is that the schools will use every possible financial resource to change nothing.

  • Nextset

    Oh, they do want to get the workers to work (the same jobs) for less pay. That they will change. There is no movement to cut the pay or benefits of the governing boards though.

  • Jill

    Debora — these ARE exceptional children and interestingly, special education and GATE are found together as the sole listings under “special programs” on the OUSD website. There’s more info on OUSD’s website but here’s one quick peek at who this funding is aimed at:
    “According to the State Education Code, students with the following conditions are eligible for special education:

    • visual impairment
    • deaf/hard of hearing
    • deaf-blind
    • specific learning disabilities
    • autism
    • traumatic brain injury
    • orthopedic impairment
    • mental retardation
    • other health impairments
    • emotionally disturbed
    • multiple disability

    Students with these disabilities must be provided a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment at no cost to the parents.”

  • Peggy Hakanson

    Some of the money should be used on technology such as Smart Boards, overhead projectors, alpha smarts, etc. I know having the use of this technology really helped my students with language arts, research, and ultimately all of their regular ed subjects at MDUSD.

    Special needs students need visual technology to help them learn. Even basic computers hooked up to the Internet are invaluable resources of learning. Free downloadable programs such as ReadPlease that read text to students in several different voices and speeds or PhotoStory from Microsoft which helps students put together easy visual presentations are invaluable sources of learning for this group of students as well as all learners. Computers can be used with Bookshare.org resources for these students as well.

    Library resources are also needed, such as the Orca selection of high interest, low reading ability books for students who are reading far below basic. Living Books or similar brands of books on CD are also useful because they can be read, can read to students, or students can click on unknown words to be read to them along with fun graphics that students can play with.

    Many different learning software programs help students with reading, writing, math in ways that engage students while helping them keep track of their own progress. Students graph their own results and move on to more challenging work much faster than being taught by their teacher during direct instruction alone.

  • A Teacher at Tilden

    Hmm, I wonder if such funds could be used to save an exceptionally good school which effectively serves children with and without special needs. One that might otherwise be closed ostensibly due to the costs associated with modernizing the building and installing a working fire alarm.