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Pre-K and IEP


Tina H

Question

My son has been in an ASD Pre-K program since he turned 3 for 14 months now at an elementary school in a county school district. We reside in a city school district that outsourced their special needs to the larger county school district. The county school district cancelled the contract with the city so now the City school district will be providing the services to my son in the Fall.  He has an IEP in place from the county.

He has been in a classroom where the schedule runs from 8:20 AM to 3:20 PM daily with 5 students, 1 teacher and 2 aids. He also receives group speech therapy once a week. The City School has stated they plan to have a part time program that is 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM with 10 students, 1 teacher and 1 aid. They state the time difference is equivalent because students won't nap or snack at their school. The nap/snack at his current school accounts for 1 hour 25 minutes a day. So this accumulates to 7 hours of less support a week PLUS a much higher student teacher ratio. I am told if I want to ensure my son receives the same support, I should move.

I have two questions about this - 

1 - the City Schools offers a full time Pre-K program for their staff and teacher's children. Are they able to offer Special Needs Pre-K with less time than the general education children?

2 - what's the best way to approach the City school district regarding not following his IEP? Should I find a local advocate or contact the state education department? I have time before he starts at the City schools but want to make sure I am doing all I can to ensure my son receives the support her deserves.

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I'd start by talking to the state.  That route should be no cost.  Find out NOW if this will be OK.

Can you get the county to spell out how many hours/minutes of instruction happens?  I'm in PA & the last page of the IEP lists out total hours and how many are sp ed versus gen ed.  Can you get the county school to do this so when you transfer schools, the new school has to justify the cut in instructional time?  If they are cutting out 2 hours & 50 minutes of time that students are there, they need to show they are not cutting out instruction. (And kids that age need breaks.  They can't go 4 hours w/o a break/recess/snacks.)

They need to show that the change in ratio will also work for your child.  Again, spell this out in the current IEP so the new program is the same.  My gut says you're going to need a lawyer but talk to classmates families.  You should be able to do something that's class action ad where the district cover attorney costs.  Or contact your state's disability rights group or ed law center.

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