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A RESOLUTION IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Passed April 13. 1999
To establish, on an emergency basis, a special committee to investigate systematic flaws in the delivery of special education services, spending patterns, allegations of mismanagement, structural inadequacies, and the failure to timely assess and place students in the District of Columbia Special Education Program.
RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution may be cited as the "Council Special Education Program Investigation Special Committee Establishment Emergency Resolution of 1999".
Sec. 2. Findings.
(a) The District of Columbia Public Schools ("DCPS") Special Education Program has an enrollment of approximately 8,000 students, which is approximately 10% of the DCPS enrollment.
(b) The DCPS Special Education Program has a budget of approximately $167 million, approximately 30% of the DCPS budget.
(c) The Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation conducted hearings in 1997, 1998 and in February 1999. At these hearings, witnesses offered testimony alleging serious disrepair in the special education system. An investigation and report should be used to help prevent any further damage to the Special Education Program, the students it serves and the budget of DCPS.
(d) Currently, there are approximately 2,000 students awaiting completion of the Special Education Program's initial assessment and placement process. According to public hearing testimony, many students do not receive their triennial assessments.
(e) Currently, there are over 900 students awaiting special education hearings.
(f) The average per pupil cost for a DCPS special education student is $21,097.
(g) The average per pupil transportation cost for a DCPS special education student is $9,379.
(h) The ultimate purpose of the Council Special Education Program Investigation Special 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 timely assess and place students, and to restore the Special Education Program to a level of proper effectiveness.
Sec. 3. Establishment of the Council Special Education Program Investigation Special Committee.
(a) There is established a Council Special Education Program Investigation Special Committee ("Special Committee").
(b) The budget for the Special Committee shall not exceed $250,000.00. In FY99 the budget for the special committee shall not exceed $ 100,000 from the Council's budget.
Sec. 4. Council Special Committee membership.
(a) The Special Committee shall consist of all members of the Council of the District of Columbia.
(b) The Special Committee shall be co-chaired by Councilmember Kevin P. Chavous, Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation and Councilmember Vincent Orange.
Sec. 5. Rules of procedure.
The Rules of the Council Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation shall govern the Special Committee. The Special Committee is authorized, pursuant to Rule 226 of the Council Rules, to adopt additional rules which are not inconsistent with Council rules or other applicable laws.
Sec. 6. Duties; reporting requirements.
(a) The Special Committee shall:
(b) The Special Committee shall present a report to the full Council within 90 days of the conclusion of its investigation which shall include the following:
(c) Notwithstanding Council Rule 308, the Special Committee may file its report during a period of Council recess.
Sec. 7. Hearings.
(a) The Special Committee may hold public hearings on matters including:
(b) The Special Committee may hold hearings for the purpose of receiving testimony, comments, documents, computer records (hard copy or diskette), emails, recordings, notes, photographs, facsimile transmissions, or other information or materials from witnesses called before the Special Committee and from members of the public.
(c) All testimony given by witnesses before the Special Committee shall be made under oath. The Chairpersons of the Special Committee are authorized to issue an oath or affirmation to each witness. The Special Committee may authorize a member, committee staff, or counsel advising the Special Committee to take testimony of witnesses by oral, written, or videotaped depositions.
(d) The Special Committee shall coordinate its efforts with any other investigation of the DCPS Special Education Program conducted by officers or employees of the federal or District government.
Sec. 8. Staff.
The Special Committee may hire staff and may appoint legal counsel, within the constraints of its budget, to advise the Chairpersons of the Special Committee. The Special Committee shall utilize the services of the D.C. Inspector General to help reduce the overall cost of the investigation.
Sec. 9. Subpoena authorization.
The Council authorizes the Special Committee to use subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses, to obtain testimony, or to produce documents, other information or tangible items. The Special Committee shall not be required to submit a report to the Secretary prior to issuing a subpoena.
Sec. 10. Filing of records.
The special committee shall submit its official records to the Secretary within 30 days of the filing of the report to the Council.
Sec. 11. Fiscal impact statement.
The fiscal impact is consistent with the amount proposed for its budget. Additionally, the Special Committee expects to avail itself of existing funds within the Council's FY 1999 and 2000 budget with assistance from the D.C. Inspector General's office, DCPS, the Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority, and other funding sources.
Sec. 11. Effective date; sunset provisions.
(a) This resolution shall take effect immediately.
(b) This resolution shall expire on April 13, 2000.
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