Task Force To Probe Special Education In Tulsa Schools

Tuesday, October 19th 2010, 10:22 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Despite its decision on House Bill 3393, TPS says it's heard the complaints of parents loud and clear.

10/18/2010 Related story: Tulsa Public Schools To Comply With Special Needs Funding Bill

The district says it's taking this opportunity to further develop its special education department.

TPS stands by its special education programs, saying they are excellent. But administrators admit there's always room for improvement.

"Public schools, private schools. We all want the same thing. We want what's right for kids," said TPS Director of Special Education Kay Sandschaper,

Sandschaper has worked in special education for more than 30 years. There are now 6100 special needs students in Tulsa Public Schools, and only a fraction are leaving TPS.

The Board of Education voted Monday not to award any more scholarship money to parents until the legal issues surrounding House Bill 3393 are resolved.

In the meantime, the district will form a special education task force.

"Take a step back, look at yourself, see where you can improve, see what else you can do, where you can get other ideas from," Sandschaper said.

Sandschaper says the task force will be made up of administrators, teachers, parents, and education experts. It will study successful special education programs around the nation, as well as here in Green Country.

Parents who have pulled their children out of public schools, and enrolled them in Town and Country, have raved about the school that caters to children with learning disabilities.

08/31/2010 Related story: Vouchers Helping Oklahoma Special Needs Children Get A Private Education

"He comes home every day and talks about his day. He actually does his homework every day. He never did his homework in the public school system," said Kimberly Tylycki, Parent of Town and Country student.

TPS says it can learn a lot from schools like Town and Country. And when it comes to improving the educational experience for special needs students, it doesn't mind following the school's lead.

"I think we can reproduce and make some programs that are world class and second to none. I don't have a doubt in my mind that we are able to do that," said Sandschaper.

Sandschaper points out that only one tenth of 1 percent of the parents of its special needs students requested a scholarship under House Bill 3393.