Charlie LeDuff and Marisa Schultz / The Detroit News
October 21, 2010
Detroit — The educational system for the city’s disabled children is in such disarray the state has taken the extraordinary step of withholding federal money from the Detroit Public Schools.
The man in charge of fixing the system — Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb — received a letter from the state Department of Education dated Sept. 2, informing him that the state would block nearly $5 million in cash because of persistent noncompliance with the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.
Never before has the state instituted a financial sanction for noncompliance involving students with disabilities, state officials said.
“It is completely unacceptable for students not to receive the services” they’re supposed to, said Dr. Eleanor E. White, director of the Michigan Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services. “These children have a constitutional right to a good education. It’s an entitlement. We take that very seriously.”
In a statement released late Wednesday, DPS spokesman Steve Wasko wrote: “The noncompliance issues cited by the state preceded this administration’s tenure in Detroit Public Schools, and since coming on board, Robert Bobb has made the quality of special education and compliance with federal law among his top priorities.”
He added: “DPS expects to meet our obligations and receive all funds owed to DPS. The threatened withholdings are standard terms for all districts cited for recurring compliance issues.”
IDEA Money Watch comments: What’s wrong with this picture? Under its obligation to monitor each local district’s implementation of IDEA, the Michigan Department of Education gave Detroit – and all other Michigan districts – a “meets requirements”.
Looks like this system isn’t working very well!