Editor’s note: Austin ISD officials clarified data from their newsletter, stating it has completed 98 percent of individualized education plans from the 2022-23 school year, not all of them.
AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin Independent School District said on Thursday it met a major milestone in its agreement with the Texas Education Agency to fix the district’s special education system.
The school district has been under the watch of a state-appointed monitor since September. The board of trustees voted 8-1 to accept the deal from TEA after state investigators found the district repeatedly failed to evaluate students suspected of needing special education services on time.
In a letter to parents, the district said that as of Oct. 31, it evaluated over 98% of students whose parents consented during the 2022-23 school year. The district also says over 98% of students who needed an individualized education plan, or IEP, last school year now have one.
It’s unclear how many students make up the nearly 2% still waiting. KXAN has requested that figure from district officials.
The district reported to KXAN that as of Oct. 19, 239 students from the previous school year were still waiting on individualized education plans. District officials also said it was already past the state’s 30-day timeline to produce plans for at least 35% of those students.
“The district has been laser-focused on eliminating the backlog of evaluations and providing compensatory services to help students make up for progress or skills they may have lost when their special education services were not provided,” AISD officials said in a statement.
Earlier this year, at the end of August, TEA data showed the district had yet to produce individualized education plans for 433 students who got parental consent to be evaluated last school year.
The same report showed 30 students who got parental consent two school years ago who, as of Aug. 31, were also still waiting on an individualized education plan and for help with their learning disabilities to start.
District officials said it is recruiting members for a new special education family advisory committee and is working towards the next state deadline on Dec. 31. The board plans to receive an update on the districts’ progress during the Jan. 25, 2024, regular voting meeting.