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Empowering families

UFT District 75 parents meeting

Nearly 100 parents received important information about special education. Pat Arnow

Nearly 100 parents received important information about special education.

O’Leary and Williams address the group. Pat Arnow

O’Leary and Williams address the group.

Nearly 100 parents from 41 of 58 District 75 schools attended a meeting about critical issues confronting special education at UFT headquarters on Feb. 17. It was the first in a series of informational sessions geared to parent community leaders and was attended by many key representatives, including District 75 Parents Association Presidents Council President Caroline Breuers, Vice President Joseph Williams, other parents, superintendents and UFT officers and staff. “So much practical detailed information could have been overwhelming, but it was so relevant and presented so clearly that it was very digestible and empowered the parents,” UFT District 75 Representative Walter O’Leary said. “They know that the union stands by them and stands up for the rights of all children.” UFT Vice President for Special Education Carmen Alvarez described the “Raise the Bar” campaign and explained that services agreed upon at Individualized Education Program meetings are binding and fully funded. She urged parents whose children were being denied these services to file a Special Education Complaint at www.uft.org/special-ed-complaint-form. Alvarez emphasized that nobody can change an IEP without the consent of the parent or legal guardian. Liz Truly of the UFT special education department clarified parents’ legal rights and identified UFT specialists in all boroughs who are prepared to intercede on their behalf. David Rothfuss, chair of NYSUT’s Office of Research and Educational Services for Special Education, spoke about mandate relief and budget issues. The group will meet again on April 30.

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