Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Update on FCMAT Transportation from Lorrie Davis, CAC Chairperson

We have been requesting validation of statements made within the FCMAT Transportation report when comparisons were made to other districts.  Basically, we have been asking for the names of the comparison districts FCMAT consultants are referring to throughout the report.  Dr. Mills contacted FCMAT and below is the response received: 
Two comparison statements written within the FCMAT Report
On Page 4 it states:
In most districts throughout the state, approximately 10% of the special education population receives transportation services on average.  In Mt. Diablo USD, approximately 26% receive transportation.
Then on Page 22 it states:
The district reported that approximately 4,500 students have IEPs. Approximately 1,200 receive specialized transportation as a related service as dictated by their IEPs.  Approximately 26% of the special education student population receives specialized transportation.  In most school districts that FCMAT has reviewed, approximately 10 percent of special education students receive specialized transportation.  Mt. Diablo Unified provides school transportation to a significantly higher percentage of special education studentsthan most school districts in California.
FCMAT’s response to both statements:
Page 22 of the FCMAT report suggests that FCMAT consultants see approximately 10% of the special education population transported in districts that manage their assignment of transportation well, as a necessarily related service.  Poway Unified School District is around this number.  Below is a list of examples of special education transportation percentages in districts reviewed by FCMAT in the last few years.
February 2009:           Pajaro Valley Unified School District-approximately 10.66% of
                                    students with IEPs were transported;
February 2009:           Travis Unified School District-approximately 8.51% of students
                                    with IEPs were transported;
February 2009:           Anaheim City School District-approximately 17.18% of students
                                    with IEPs were transported;
June 2009:                  Santa Barbara Unified School District-approximately 1.2% of
                                    students with IEPs were transported;
December 2009:         Visalia Unified School District-approximately 3.3% of students
                                    with IEPs were transported;
October 2010:             Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District-approximately 15.3% of
                                    students with IEPs were transported; and
February 2012:           Corona-Norco School District-approximately 6.0% of students
 with IEPs were transported.
Another comparison statement written within the FCMAT Report
On Page 21 it states:
The district has 79 special education bus routes transporting approximately 950 special education students for a load factor of approximately 12 students per route…..Approximately another 300 special education students are transported by outside contractors or parents who are paid in lieu of receiving transportation.  This is an extremely high number of students compared with other school district transportation departments reviewed by FCMAT.
FCMAT’s response:
The statement is related to the district’s Transportation Department services that FCMAT has reviewed.  FCMAT reports utilize the “deficit” model.  They note findings and recommendations.  They do not normally report on the things that the school district’s Transportation Department does positively.  FCMAT cannot recall any recent reports where they made any such notations because there are usually a relatively very small number of students transported by outside contractors or parents are paid in lieu of being transported by the district.
I have thanked Dr. Mills for contacting FCMAT and providing us with their response. In regards to “clustering” as a model of transporting students with special needs, I have asked Dr. Mills to provide us with more information regarding other districts that are using similar practices.  I will continue to keep you updated as I receive information.
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