HUNTINGTON BEACH : Special Education Changes Considered

School officials are expected to decide this month whether to restructure a group of five districts that administer programs for 4,700 disabled children in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Westminster.

The consortium hired Louis S. Barber, a Sacramento consultant and school official, to make an independent evaluation of the programs in the West Orange County Consortium for Special Education.

Barber completed the $7,500 study earlier this month and, among other recommendations, urged formation of a council of superintendents to control the consortium.

Currently, one trustee from each of the five districts--Huntington Beach Union High School District and the Ocean View, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach City and Westminster elementary districts-- make up the board of trustees.


Barber also proposed that parents who have problems placing their children in private programs deal directly with officials in the district that their children attend. They currently have to take their case to the five-district consortium’s board.

Parents and community members claimed in a petition last November that the consortium had provided poor leadership, failed at times to meet the needs of their children and spent too much money on administration and not enough on programs.

Theodora Parnavelas, a mother of a 7-year-old son in the special education program and a member of the Concerned Citizens for Individuals with Disabilities, said Monday that her group will urge trustees to forge a joint-powers agreement for the five districts and establish a governing board that includes trustees from each of the five districts, plus teachers, staff members and parents.

Parnavelas said her group will insist that district trustees who are appointed to the consortium be required to have a knowledge of special education.