TESTIMONY ON SB 797
Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D.
The CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) which represents the superintendents of CT’s public school districts has very serious concerns about one of the provisions of SB 797. The provision is related to the section of the bill that would result in the establishment of a Special Education Advisory Council.
The concern is that among the 34 members of the Council, none is a superintendent of schools. This is a serious omission for the following reasons.
- The overwhelming majority of the children who qualify for special education services have those services provided by local school districts. Only superintendents have a perspective regarding how the various sub-systems of school districts have to be incorporated so that these children receive the services to which they are entitled. For example, it is frequently the case that in addition to the provision of appropriate instruction, the students involved need to have appropriate transportation, appropriate food provisions, appropriate technology and other services and these services need to be well coordinated for the children to be served appropriately. Only superintendents can provide the perspective regarding how this coordination is most effective.
- Superintendents more than any other educators have a good understanding of how the provision of services for special needs children could affect the provision of services for all of the other children served by a school district. Provided inappropriately, the services for children with special needs could have a negative impact on the services provided to other children. In every school district, it is the superintendent who is ultimately responsible for special needs children receiving all of the services to which they are entitled without negatively impacting the services provided to other children. The Council will need the perspective that is the result of this experience if the Council is to be successful.
CAPSS, therefore, requests that SB 797 be revised so that a superintendent of schools selected by CAPSS be a member of the Special Education Advisory Council.