L.A. Unified Schools to Regain Full Control of Programs for 64,500 Special-Needs Students

Bumpy surfaces help blind students navigate through an L.A. Unified campus in Hollywood in 2010.(Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Bumpy surfaces help blind students navigate through an L.A. Unified campus in Hollywood in 2010.(Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Unified School District, which educates about 64,500 students with disabilities, will regain full control over programs that serve their special needs, after decades of costly court-ordered outside supervision, officials announced this week.

The court-approved agreement will end a consent decree dating back to 1996, when district officials acknowledged they were not meeting their legal obligations to serve students with a broad range of disabilities, including dyslexia, autism, aphasia, blindness and paralysis.

The education of disabled students is a major part of the mission for the nation’s second-largest school system, where about 13% of students are classified as having a significant disability. To educate them this year, the district will spend about $1.75 billion out of a general fund budget of about $8 billion.

“This is an important milestone for Los Angeles Unified and the students and families we serve,” Supt. Austin Beutner said in a statement. “The Court has recognized the exceptional work we’ve done to serve the needs of students in our special education programs. We plan to build on the progress and make sure every student in Los Angeles Unified, including those with special needs, gets a great education.”

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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