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LAUSD Candidate Richard Ramos on Special Education

Would he confront the status quo and fight for the vulnerable students who depend on the District to provide the services that they need?

By Carl J. PetersenPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
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“As an LAUSD Board of Education member, I am committed to helping parents and families with special education needs by facilitating connections with the relevant personnel within LAUSD to address their questions and concerns.”

– BD3 Candidate Richard Ramos

Richard Ramos, who is one of seven candidates running against incumbent Scott Schmerelson in LAUSD’s Board District 3, has been an active participant in the LAUSD Candidate Forum series. In addition to the answers below, Ramos also responded to the ones about PROP-39 co-locations.

For the October edition of this series, Ramos was asked five questions about Special Education. For the introduction to this subject along with answers from other candidates, please see the article LAUSD Candidate Forum: Special Education.

The following are the candidate's responses, printed exactly how he provided them, with the exception of some minor formatting edits:

  • Question 1: If you were on the Board, would you sponsor and work for the passage of the proposed "Improving Special Education Within the LAUSD" resolution? YES

First of all, the district is moving to inclusive education. In fact, schools in BD 3 are already fully inclusive and do not offer Special Day Classes like AutCore. I support the resolution and parents' decision-making rights to select a Special Education Center for their child with severe disabilities and support funding these centers.

  • Question 2: Have you signed the petition supporting the proposed "Improving Special Education Within the LAUSD" resolution? YES

I signed it today.

  • Question 3: Federal funding to provide Special Education services is based on the size of the total student body, not the number of students receiving services. Therefore, charter schools benefit financially by discouraging the enrollment of these students as they receive the same amount of funding without having to pay the costs of providing the services. Not surprisingly, the data shows that charter schools as a whole enroll a smaller percentage of children with Special Education needs than their public school counterparts. As a Board Member would you look for ways to recoup the costs from charter schools that have below-average enrollment of students with Special Education needs? YES

As an LAUSD school site principal, I have personally observed situations where parents and their children were redirected to their LAUSD home school because the charter school did not offer a Special Education (SPED) program specified in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the offer of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). As district and board members, we should recover costs from charter schools that exhibit below-average enrollment, mainly since SPED enrollment typically represents approximately 10% of the total enrollment. This approach will help ensure that students with special education needs receive the appropriate services.

  • Question 4: Will you have a member of your staff dedicated to supporting families with Special Education needs? YES to supporting parents and families, do not have info on funding

As an LAUSD Board of Education member, I am committed to helping parents and families with special education needs by facilitating connections with the relevant personnel within LAUSD to address their questions and concerns. However, I currently need more information regarding board member funding to make a decision regarding the allocation of dedicated staff members for special education issues.

  • Question 5: As a Board member will you ensure that the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is able to act independently of District staff so that it can provide you with feedback that is truly reflective of what the Special Education community is experiencing? YES

I would endorse the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) in making recommendations that have been added to the agenda, thoroughly discussed, and approved through a positive vote. This process ensures that family voices and feedback are effectively conveyed to the Board of Education.

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Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for public education, particularly for students with special education needs, who serves as the Education Chair for the Northridge East Neighborhood Council. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him “a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles.” For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.

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About the Creator

Carl J. Petersen

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with SpEd needs and public education. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Opinions are his own.

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