San Dieguito district OKs new special-ed supervisor post

As part of the San Dieguito Union School District’s ongoing work to reorganize the work of the educational services division, the board approved establishing a program supervisor position for administrative oversight of district-based special education programs at its May 7 meeting. The vote was 4-1, with Mo Muir voting against it.

Terrie Norton, associate superintendent of human resources, said during the recession the district cut back a lot in the special education department and was down to just one special education administrator. The new program supervisor position will allow the district to effectively manage the special education program, which has more than 1,300 students.

The supervisor will be able to be directly involved in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process and have authorization over the special education program.

The district will look to hire up to four supervisors versus having seven program specialists.

In voting against the position, Muir cited her concerns about the cost, although Superintendent Rick Schmitt said that the cost is built into the budget.

“It’s not a cost increase; it’s different people working in different categories,” he said. “We’re not spending any more money.”

Unlike in many communities, many families come into San Dieguito’s IEP process with representation and the process can be extended for months. Schmitt said this change would give the right authority to the right people and possibly help cut down on the high settlements the district has been having lately.

“An administrative position in IEP meetings will help hold the line,” Norton said. “We need someone with expertise and ability to explain why more is not better for many students and what’s appropriate for students.”