TAMPA — The Hillsborough County school board this morning unanimously approved new policies and procedures governing the district’s exceptional student education, including some significant changes.
ESE director Maryann Parks said major revisions to the document align with new requirements under an education bill signed into law over the summer.
Senate Bill 1108 gives parents more say on individual education plans, or IEPs, given to children with disabilities.
It requires that parents sign consent forms to approve decisions made during IEP meetings. For instance, parents must give consent on plans to send their child to an exceptional student education center.
“Senate Bill 1108 really gave a lot of parent input and consent for certain services,” Parks said.
Additionally, the bill calls for all teachers to receive 20 hours of exceptional student education training or one college credit in exceptional student education, Parks said.
About 29,000 Hillsborough County students have an individual education plan, Parks said.
The ESE department is working with parents so they understand the significance of some of the changes, Parks said. The district will also host training sessions for parents.
In other action, board members today heard a presentation on Hillsborough Virtual School and approved raises for district support staff. The raises range from a 4 percent to 9 percent increase and are retroactive to July 1.
Additionally, the board approved the appointments of two new principals, effective Monday.
Joseph Castelli, assistant principal of curriculum at Armwood High School, will be promoted to Armwood principal. He replaces Mark West, who has been promoted to the district’s general manager of employee relations.
Scott Weaver, principal of Westchase Elementary School, will now serve as principal of Martinez Middle School. He replaces Dallas Jackson, who was hired as administrator on special assignment for the district’s student management reconstruction program.
During a 4:30 p.m. special meeting today, the board will compile a list of questions to ask the three finalists for the job of school board attorney. The interviews are scheduled for later in the evening.
Attorney Tom Gonzalez, who has represented the school district and school board, will continue to represent the district only. The new attorney will represent the board.
School board meetings are at the district offices, 901 E. Kennedy Blvd.