Compton Unified receives single-district SELPA designation
COMPTON—The California State Board of Education approved the Compton Unified School District’s bid to become a singledistrict Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), during a meeting on May 12 in Sacramento.
The district will now have absolute authority over the implementation and funding of its special education programs through the establishment of its own support service office as of July 1, 2011. There are currently 124 SELPA offices statewide with 35 operating as single-district SELPAs.
CUSD’s SELPA office will now be responsible for ensuring that all services are provided to students with disabilities, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the federal law for special education. The SELPA will handle all the administrative duties of special education with the California Department of Education. It will also be responsible for the facilitation and interpretation of all legal requirements, and provide information and resources to families of children with disabilities so they can fully understand their rights.
Additionally, Compton’s SELPA will frequently function as a catalyst for the development of new programs for students with disabilities through exclusive funding of its office.
Interim Superintendent Karen E. Frison explained the benefits of having a single district
SELPA office. “CUSD will be in total local control in making policy decisions and guidelines, budget and contracts,” she said. “We will also have flexibility at the local level in defining SELPA governance and organization. There will also be reduced reliance on other agencies in making decisions regarding support for specific types of programs for our district.”
Compton Unified will also have sole control of implementing cost-effective procedures to maximize the quantity and quality of services and programs. “While fiscal support for special education programs is provided through a combination of local, state and federal revenue sources, a special funding is received from the state to cover SELPA Administrative Unit costs,” she said. “Those funds will be sent directly to Compton Unified. We will also act as our own banker.”
Ruth Dickens, senior director, CUSD Office of Special Education, said that becoming a single-district SELPA makes the district more independent, and allows it to serve its special education students more efficiently. “CUSD was previously under a multi-district SELPA, Mid-Cities SELPA, which also included Lynwood USD; Paramount, Bellflower, and the Los Angeles County Office of Education,” she said. “Under a multi-district SELPA, all monies for special education from both local and federal agencies are divided among the districts, and usually not equally, to support the programs and services for students with disabilities in all of the districts.” Dickens also said that under a multi-SELPA system all supports, services and programs are also provided to each district under the guidance of the one director. “Now that we’re independent, we will no longer have to share funding with other districts,” she said. “All revenues generated will be spent on CUSD’s students with disabilities.”