“Yes, it is true that Dr. Wipke, Superintendent, signed a Resolution Agreement as presented by OCR in March 2018. This is standard procedure in closing out a review. However, contrary to what you allege, there were no "findings" showing any violations of federal law. Hence, it is no surprise the news media didn't publish this non-story. Thus, it is not responsible to write "just think how many kids were denied 504 plans" when OCR has made no such finding, despite years of examination.”I responded to Mr. Brazeal's comment and documented some of the many things that didn’t make it into the March 2018 District Wide Compliance Review letter nor the Resolution Agreement.
“The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.”
In addition, I noted the fact that there were students who were denied Section 504 plans in the district between 2008 and 2014. Ours was one of them. There were others who were originally denied Section 504 plans by the district. Some of those parents contacted me. However, they were eventually provided a 504 plans after the district changed law firms, ousted the former superintendent and demoted the Section 504 coordinator for the district.
ED OCR was aware of them but did not document that fact in the District Wide Compliance Review letter or Resolution Agreement. They also didn't document the monitoring letters that they sent the district between 2009 and 2013. Those monitoring letters did not reflect well on the district as they noted the numerous times that the district failed to meet the terms of the May 2009 Resolution Agreement.
However, there was also more than a two year lapse in monitoring the district. ED OCR didn't issue any monitoring letters between December 2009 and March 2012. We asked ED OCR numerous times during that two year gap as to when they planned to send new monitoring letters to the district. We also asked as to how many years does it take before they actually enforce the agreement rather than changing the deadlines of the agreement when the district didn't meet them.
“Since the time OCR opened this compliance review in 2010, the District has worked to improve its process for identifying and evaluating students who may be eligible for Section 504 services and protections.”
June 25, 2013 Fox C-6 Board Meeting Minutes
The District understands and acknowledges that OCR may initiate administrative enforcement or judicial proceedings, including to enforce the specific terms and obligations of this Agreement. Before initiating administrative enforcement (34 C.F.R. §§ 100.9, 100.10) or judicial proceedings, including to enforce this Agreement, OCR shall give the District written notice of the alleged breach and sixty (60) calendar days to cure the alleged breach.
ED OCR's Lack of Enforcement
I also noted in my response to Mr. Brazeal that USDA OCR had issued findings that found Fox and Missouri DESE non-compliant with Section 504. That non-compliance letter was issued in August 2011. This was noted in my July 2013 article along with a reference to a copy of the non-compliance letter.
Perhaps items weren’t documented in the March 16, 2018 District Wide Compliance Review letter for the 2008 through June 2014 time frame because things changed in the district in June 2014. That’s when the district switched law firms, our superintendent was ousted and the district switched Section 504 Coordinators.