Education News

HISD Hires Outside Group To Audit Its Special Education Services

HISD continues to hold forums for parents of special needs children this spring, including one next week.

The contract with AIR will last through June 2018 and will cost up to $300,000.
The contract with AIR will last through June 2018 and will cost up to $300,000.

Houston’s special education services will get an outside look. The HISD school board hired a third-party nonprofit to audit the services for disabled children at its meeting Thursday night.

The decision was unanimous to select the American Institutes for Research for the job, under a contract through June 2018 for up to $300,000.

But board members also pressed top HISD administrators for clear updates on the progress.

“I get calls from parents all the time — they know what the problem is,” said Trustee Mike Lunceford. “And they’re tired of inaction on the board. So I just want to make sure that we have a fire going that we’re going to get something done.”

HISD has one of the lowest rates of students in special ed compared to other large urban districts. Parents are concerned their kids have been denied because of the district’s adherence to a state benchmark.

Superintendent Richard Carranza said that there’s already been some progress, starting his meetings with over 200 teachers about special ed. The former assistant for special education has also resigned.

“It sounds like it’s very simple: fix special ed. But it’s not simple. It’s not a simplistic issue. It’s a complex issue,” Carranza said.

Meanwhile, HISD continues to hold forums for parents of special needs children this spring, including one next week.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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