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January 30, 2003

Mom wants special needs child in school

From: Times-Journal, AL - 30 Jan 2003

By J.D. Davidson
The Times-Journal

Published January 30, 2003

A DeKalb County woman believes the Fort Payne City School System denied her adopted child enrollment because he is a special needs student.

Speaking before the Fort Payne Board of Education on Monday, Kimberly McNutt said she was told by some school officials she could enroll her son after the June 15 deadline, but was eventually denied by superintendent Tom McCormack.

“I was just enforcing the existing policy,” McCormack said. “She made her plea to the board.”

Following McNutt’s presentation, the board made no decision and did not discuss the situation.

According to policy, out-of-city residents must enroll students in city schools by June 15 for the upcoming school year. If they miss that deadline, then the student must wait another year or enroll in the district they live in.

McNutt, who lives in Valley Head and says her other children attend school in Fort Payne, said her child is deaf, and questioned the policy of allowing parents to enroll exchange students after the deadline and not adjusting the policy for adoptions.

“I feel if Joseph was not special needs then Joseph would be in school right now,” McNutt said. “We know if he does not receive some education now, he will not be able to even go into the GED program. It is our goal to educate our child.”

In other action, the board:

• approved minutes of called meetings on Dec. 30 and Jan. 21, and approved the November and December financial statements.

• recognized Pam Wells, lunchroom manager at Fort Payne High School, for a program she created that was honored by the State Board of Education.

• approved leaves for Tricia Chandler, lunchroom manager at Wills Valley Elementary School; Bradley Fricks, Spanish teacher at Fort Payne High School; and Robin Thacker, secretary/bookkeeper at Wills Valley.

• transferred April Goggans Howard from seventh-grade English teacher to high school English teacher.

• hired Claudia Weaver as Indiana education teacher and Nicholas Owens as special education teacher at Fort Payne High School.

• approved additions to both the nutrition program substitute worker list and substitute teacher list.

• approved Mae Smith as substitute worker in the family English program, and Angela Watson as extended substitute for Susan Hill, half-time librarian at Wills Valley and half-time librarian at Fort Payne Middle School.

• accepted low bid of $127,608 from Transportation South for two buses.

• accepted low bid from Charter Communications for Internet service in the system.

• declared equipment in the child nutrition program and computers as surplus property.

• set its next meeting for Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Central Office.

© 2003 The Times-Journal. All rights reserved.