Shawnee Mission School District violated state special education requirements, report says

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A new report from the Kansas Department of Education finds the Shawnee Mission School District violated the state’s special education requirements.

The education department looked into some complaints about the district’s special education services and found four areas where the district is out of compliance.

According to the report, students aren’t given the appropriate number of minutes in their individualized educational plans, or IEPs, because some schools are understaffed.

Some elementary students did not get support services required by their IEP. Some middle and high school students were taught by a staff member without the proper credentials, and some gifted students didn’t get the amount of special services specified in their IEP.

The report says the issues aren’t reflective of district-wide policies to intentionally deprive students.

A district spokesperson released the following statement Tuesday evening:

“The Shawnee Mission School District cooperated fully with the investigator’s requests over the last several weeks. The report, received on Friday, December 22, is being reviewed carefully. The district is pleased that the thorough investigation rejected the complainant’s broad allegations, finding no ‘evidence of systemic actions, policy or practices on the part of the district purposefully designed to undermine the ability of school-level professionals to perform their duties.’

“The district works tirelessly to comply with applicable special education requirements. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, circumstances beyond our control interfere. The district will work with KSDE to meet the requirements outlined in the investigator’s report, most of which involve individual or a small number of students. In every instance, we will continue to strive to provide the best education possible to all students, including students receiving special education services.”