Shortened School Calendar Okayed Over Special Education Concerns
Hawaii can go forward with a cost-cutting plan to furlough teachers, despite objections from special education parents that the move violates students’ individualized education plans, or IEPs, a federal appeals court ruled.
Parents of nine special education students at five different schools filed suit last year against the state of Hawaii to stop a plan which would furlough teachers for 17 days this school year and 24 days next year. On those days, public schools in the state are not operating.
The families argued that the missed school days would prevent proper implementation of students’ IEPs.
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This week a federal appeals court sided with the state, affirming a lower court ruling that allows the plan to go forward. To rule otherwise, the members of the court wrote in their opinion, would “give the parents of disabled children veto power over a state’s decisions regarding the management of its schools.”
While the panel of judges recognized the harm that the furloughs could bring special education students, they wrote in their opinion that these students are not being singled out since all students are receiving fewer services as a result of the furloughs.