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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news October 19, 2014


2/19/2012 7:14:00 AM
High school, C-OC to share special education director and IEP specialist
C-OC Superintendent Barbara U’Ren said that the director will go where needed between the C-OC and Mingus districts. She emphasized that both the director and IEP specialist would put their time where it was most needed.
C-OC Superintendent Barbara U’Ren said that the director will go where needed between the C-OC and Mingus districts. She emphasized that both the director and IEP specialist would put their time where it was most needed.

Philip Wright
Staff Reporter


COTTONWOOD - Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts are currently studying the feasibility of sharing certain office and administration positions. But both districts' governing boards have voted to share a director of special education and an IEP (Individual Education Plan) specialist beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.

The C-OC board voted Tuesday night to approve the shared positions. The Mingus board approved the arrangement Feb. 9.

During a joint board meeting in January, C-OC Superintendent Barbara U'Ren and MUHS Superintendent Tim Foist explained that they had met and were in agreement that the two positions could be shared. In addition, they told the joint boards that sharing the special education positions would bring a more coordinated professional staff to both districts.

During discussion Tuesday night, U'Ren said they would expect the director to look at the special education needs of both districts.

"Are there any downsides to having a shared director?" asked board member Jason Finger.

"The down side would be answering to two superintendents," U'Ren said. She explained that she does not see that as being a significant problem.

Finger said he does like the idea of the continuity that a single special education director and IEP specialist would provide for students and families from middle school to high school.

U'Ren said the special education director should be the one responsible for hiring the IEP specialist. She said the director would know best what the children needed.

Finger also asked if by sharing these positions the districts would be adding an extra layer of administration.

"I would say no," U'Ren said. She said it will be one position for two districts.

"Will we be sharing equally?" asked board member Janice Rollins.

U'Ren explained that the director will go where needed. She emphasized that both the director and IEP specialist would put their time where it was most needed.

"We're trying to bring these two programs together," said board president Randall Garrison.

Taylor Waste
Related Stories:
• Editorial: Mingus, C-OC on right path with share services
• Mingus chooses contractor for shared services study
• Mingus, Cottonwood-Oak Creek move forward on joint services (with video)
• Judge rules C-OC failed to provide autistic child appropriate education
• C-OC School District ordered to reimburse parents $60,000


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Article comment by: Just Amamzing

Agreed.......... we need to get rid of them and we need a new board.....

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
Article comment by: What? Sheesh!

Sheesh, did you get any facts before writing this nonsense? I'd like to see your facts on that COCSD "diverted the significant federal money received for each special ed student for other purposes. Such as the the IB school.."
That sounds an awful lot like opinion and inference to me.

Plus, the IB school is open to anyone who wishes to enroll. And for the sorry few who are on a waiting list, perhaps they should've done their research instead of bashing it, only now to want to get their kids in because it is, hands down, giving the best education in the Verde Valley. So, if being in "the haves" means I did research and got involved in the educational decisions and daily educational process for my child, then so be it. Survival of the fittest. Anyone else had the same opportunity I did.

Now, with that said. My only concern about sharing Special Ed Services with Mingus would be caseload. If there are failings in Special Ed, it is usually because there are not enough professionals and time to serve the kids in their best interest.


Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
Article comment by: I Don't agree!

Obviously reality sets in knows nothing about how a school district works. The Comment that was made “Diverting special ed money helps pay for the tens of thousands in fees due to the international IB organization in Switzerland.” Proves total ignorance. Schools are regulated by the auditor general and funds cannot be spent however the Superintendent deems fit. This includes spending money intended for special Ed to support a program that is not special ed related, and last time I looked IB schools had nothing to do with special Ed programs. You also stated “These kids used to have cutting edge facilities specifically designed for special ed in Tavasci School.” Yes there were special Ed facilities at Tavasci but I think cutting edge is going a little far. It appears by reading any comments about Cottonwood-Oak Creek School district lately that Barbara U’Ren has her own lynch mob in the community so where it the support that we should be offering our public school districts. Isn’t it supposed to be all about the kids? The IB program has offered a different kind of curriculum for parents and students alike. This program has out grown it current location and need room to grow so using a school that was closed sure seems like a good idea.

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
Article comment by: GEORGIA JOBE

I agree with "Reality Sets In" 100%!

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
Article comment by: Reality Sets In

Losing an expensive judgment is one good way to to help nudge this district back to reality.

An administrative law judge recently found the Cottonwood Oak Creek School District fabricated information provided to parents of a special ed student, and forced the district to pay $60,000 plus that students ongoing educational expenses elsewhere.

So at this point there is probably nothing more than COCSD superintendent Barbara Uren would like to see off her desk than special ed.

Responsible for this fiasco is the disastrous Inclusion program as pushed by Patricia Osborne, and as approved by Ms. Uren. despite ample warning from teachers and parents.

This misguided program takes special ed kids, some of them severely handicapped, and puts them into regular classrooms.

Some of these special ed kids are in diapers and on feeding tubes.

These kids used to have cutting edge facilities specifically designed for special ed in Tavasci School.

But the district unwisely chose to close that school last year, and move special ed kids into regular classrooms. This enabled them to divert the significant federal money received for each special ed student for other purposes.

Such as the the IB school, the latest in a string of educational fads and bandwagons that Ms. Uren is prone to jump on.

Diverting special ed money helps pay for the tens of thousands in fees due to the international IB organization in Switzerland.

The many parents who loved Tavasci school last year are justifiably outraged the district is now reopening that school only for IB students.

So under Superintendent Uren, our district has sadly devolved into one of a few haves and mostly have nots. All the other campuses and all the other students must sacrifice to pay for the privileged few in the IB program.

Teacher morale is at an all time low. Public confidence in the district is at an all time low. The reputation of our once proud district is suffering. Teachers are going home in tears at how their schools have deteriorated.

How much more damage are we going to allow these people to do?

Sharing services with Mingus is a great start, but our problems will not be solved until the school board releases Ms. Osborne and Ms. Uren from their contracts.




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