Friday, September 5, 2008

This afternoon was Holland's IEP "transition" meeting. I knew I was in trouble when I heard the woman that was 'supposed' to be on my side comment to the district rep "I read his file last night and my first thought was 'why fix something that's not broken' ". She said this not knowing that I was the one she was representing. I did not know who she was (the person that I thought was going to be there, had lined up this woman in case she couldn't get back from her other committment). I'm glad I didn't introduce myself because this is the only way I would have found out (accurately) that she did not support this placement. This is the person from the charter school that Holland is now enrolled in.

So basically, the entire meeting was me making point after point of why I did not see last year's placement a good fit for this year. How I was going to make that work and how they were going to monitor progress. I wish I had never gotten involved with the school district. I did so, because I believed it was the only way to get the academic help I needed. What I got was an overzealous group of 'professionals' who are more concerned that Holland won't have enough socialization this year. He actually is getting more appropriate socialization than he had last year. Last year he was around kids with some pretty serious emotional problems. This year, he'll be taking a ceramics class, learning about electricity, learning how to play chess and playing soccer. I'd say those were pretty good socialization activities.

Again the money situation was brought up. The district rep's boss was there (never met him before; he's never shown up at any other IEP meetings) and he said it cost $37,000 to educate Holland at Heron Creek last year. Before I could stop it, the comment "I can do it cheaper" came out of my mouth. Such a sharp-tongued comment. But I guess if you're bringing up what something costs, then I should have the same opportunity to comment on that. Big-man boss did not find that funny; but I saw the district guy crack a smile. I asked if a placement at this other charter school would have been cheaper than $37,000 and he said no. I do not believe that one bit. I guarantee they don't spend half that per student at the charter. They only get $5,500 extra per child on an IEP. I bet having an aide out there would have been comprable if not less expensive. They are already servicing 3 students on IEP's - all with academic needs.

The rep even asked if my ultimate goal was to get him at Romania's charter school. I said there was no way I would be plucking him out of his current situation. I spent the whole summer wondering where he would be placed this fall and when I finally decided that the best placement was with me, I would not be making any more adjustments to his schooling right now.

I guess it's good to know before things progress much further who's really going to support me in a pinch. And it's not the woman that showed up today. I did get a very nice compliment from Holland's former program supervisor. She left before the end of last year on maternity, so I didn't see much of her at the end. She said she was proud of the way I handled myself. That it must have been difficult to advocate for my child in a room full of people that weren't in agreement with me. And that I handled it with grace.

Yep. That's my job.

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