LISD non-compliant with federal special needs regulations

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - "We're the field of dreams of special education. We've built a good program," said Lufkin ISD Superintendent, Roy Knight.

The Texas Education Agency and the Austin Region Service Center conducted audits this week on LISD, finding the district exceeds the number of special needs students allowed. Knight says the findings are nothing new, as they've exceeded the 2-percent cap for four years in a row.

"I don't apologize for being out of compliance. We have large special education populations here because we provide great services for that population of kids," said Knight.

One mother says the program has helped her daughter to gain more self-esteem. The first grader was born premature and suffers from learning disabilities.

"She's done almost a 360, as far as her learning. Her speech is better. She recognizes her words," said Sophiea Hulett, mother of a first grade special needs student.

"No matter what their needs are, we try to meet those needs in as best we can," said Herty Elementary Pre-school teacher, Lark Silvey.

Silvey says the district works hard to support more than 170 students in the special needs programs.

"A special program called the young athlete's program. And, this little girl was determined she was going to walk to get her award, that day. And she did. And so, that, that was awesome," said Silvey.

While the growing special needs population continues to place the district on what Knight terms an "ugly list" for non-compliance, he states LISD does all they can to meet those students' needs.

"That data on paper in Austin doesn't reflect all the things that we do," said Knight.

The district will get the full report from the audit in 60 days.

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