Calif. special education teachers sue their school district over workload

As reported at appealdemorcrat.com, a group of four California teachers have sued the Yuba City Unified School District (YCUSD) over their high caseloads of special education students.

The teachers allege that their current assignments violate state law with regard to maximum caseloads for California’s Resource Specialist Program¬†(RSP) teachers. At the heart of the issue is whether other at-risk students who are not in special education count in the teachers’ case loads. Yuba City is using a blended services model, and the outcome of this case could have impacts around the state.

According to the suit, YCUSD assigned the teachers to teach classes to groups of students containing both regular and special education children. In counting the teachers caseloads, which by law cannot exceed 28 students, the district decided that the non-special education children taught by these RSP teachers do not count as part of their case load. The four teachers also contend that assigning their services to both regular and special education students simultaneously is also a violation of state law.

According to the associatedemocrat article, the Superintendent, Nancy Aaberg, stated that many districts around California are looking for the best way to provide services to students on IEPs. In the past, special education students often were sent to special education classrooms to receive specialized educational services. More recently, districts are experimenting with having RSP enter classrooms in which RSP students sit side-by-side their typical peers and receive assistance within a regular education class.

In the legal filing, the teachers’ attorney states that she sent two letter to YCUSD and met with school officials to resolve the matter prior to filing the lawsuit.