COTTONWOOD - The Mingus Union School Board voted Thursday night to approve advertising to begin a search for a special education director and Individual Education Plan (IEP) specialists. These will be separate positions.
The advertisement will be placed as soon as possible for the 2012 - 2013 school year.
Mingus Superintendent Tim Foist told the board that if they look ahead to shared services with Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District, the director's position would be for both districts.
The IEP position, however, is for Mingus. Foist said C-OC already has an IEP specialist.
During discussion of the agenda item, board member John Tavasci said the justification is good, based on C-OC's experience.
He was referring to a recent judgment against C-OC for $60,000. An Administrative Court judge handed down that judgment. The ruling was based primarily on C-OC's failure to follow an IEP for an autistic student. The IEP in question also was improperly changed without approval by the IEP team assigned to that student.
In addition to the $60,000 judgment, C-OC district was ordered to pay tuition, transportation and board and room for that child to attend a special school for autistic children in Phoenix.
Tavasci said that lawsuit sent a ripple effect through school districts all across Arizona.
Foist told the board that Mingus has already had phone calls from parents with questions based on the news stories about the C-OC judgment.
During a phone interview Friday morning, Foist said Mingus would have no problems letting the districts share the expertise of both districts' IEP specialists.
"Our goal is to do joint training of staff," Foist said.