Daily Sitka Sentinel

Sitka Special Ed Case Sent to State Mediator

    A formal special education complaint filed in October against the Sitka School District is headed to mediation.
    Don Enoch, the state’s special education administrator, said Wednesday that the state had completed its investigation into the local special education complaint and that both sides had agreed to participate in a state-funded mediation process.
    He said the goal of mediation is to avoid a “due process hearing,” which could be expensive for both parties.
    “We really have a firm belief in our mediation folks,” Enoch said, adding that the process required “cooperation and compromise” from both the Sitka School District and the parents who filed the complaint.
    Parents of a Sitka student have alleged that local school district is not providing a “free and adequate” public education, as required by law.
    Details of the complaint are confidential.
    Sitka Superintendent Steve Bradshaw informed the School Board about the special education complaint at a meeting in November. He said then that he felt the district was “on pretty solid ground.”
    Bradshaw today said he couldn’t say much more about the complaint.
    “We’re working with the parents to try to get the best education for the student we can,” he said. “Hopefully, what comes out is best for the child.”
    Bradshaw said the mediation process is expected to start next month. He said the district would incur some legal fees during the mediation, but that a due process hearing would be much more expensive.
    “It adds up pretty quickly if we go to due process,” Bradshaw said.

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