Opinion

Public should attend SAD 70 meeting

To the editor:

As your elected school board member, I feel obligated to respond to the recent [Department of Education] investigation. Unlike the district, I am not happy with the outcome and findings at MSAD 70. 

The complaint was filed by the teachers for the students, not because “regular education teachers were upset about having to provide extra support for special education students in their classrooms,” as stated by Dr. Flacke in her interview with the complaint investigator.  The reason was that in our little school teachers truly know the needs and learning abilities of all students and recognized kids struggling in the classroom. 

I started asking questions and talking to teachers and parents at the beginning of the school year.  I realized parents and staff were blindsided of the changes implemented.  Teachers were to teach their class at all learning levels, modifying curriculum to accommodate students at and below grade level without any direction or instruction and minimal training from the district.  Students were expected to learn with their peers because, according to administration, it’s the law.   Hours of extra educational support were reduced or eliminated.  Staff meetings, phone calls and notice to parents were not documented due to “the pandemic” and “administrative oversight.”  

The report stated, “At the time parent calls were made, the district was not sure what the individualized student programs would look like,” yet the goal was “to have staff obtain phone agreements to make changes without an IEP meeting.”  There was lack of communication and working as a team. No one had a clear picture of how this should work.  The “professional development provided to staff” consisted of two Zoom presentations in June and October. The “employment of additional educational technicians to help our students and staff make this a success” was paid through COVID relief money to rehire positions cut from the 2020-2021 budget.  Over $30,000 in legal fees have been spent.  

This is not an outcome to be proud of, it’s an outcome to be concerned about.  Our next school board meeting is Monday, July 19, at 7 p.m. We need public attendance.

Clarissa Porter
Hodgdon
MSAD 70 School Board Member  

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