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Special council committee to investigate special ed

(Published May 3, 1999)

An emergency investigation into systemic flaws and allegations of mismanagement in D.C.’s special education programs is getting underway.

Legislation creating a special investigative committee — to be co-chaired by Councilmen Kevin Chavous, D-Ward 7, and Vincent Orange, D-Ward 5 — was passed April 13 by D.C. City Council. Details of the committee’s operation are still being worked out, but investigators from the inspector general’s office have indicated interest in being involved.

"The ultimate purpose of the...committee is to investigate systematic flaws in the delivery of special education services, spending patterns, and any pervasive mismanagement of funds and programs, structural inadequacies and wrongdoing, real or perceived, the failure to (promptly) assess and place students and to restore the special education program to a level of proper effectiveness," the legislation states.

The committee, which includes all council members, will conduct a comprehensive audit on operating funds for fiscal 1996-1999, examine staff salaries, review Medicaid records, determine expectations for student learning and determine whether the District can provide effective service at a lower cost. The committee will also investigate allegations of waste, fraud and abuse in the system and report its recommendations for changes to existing laws and procedures within one year.

The committee’s budget was set at $250,000, including $100,000 from the council’s fiscal 1999 budget.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator