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Parent Appeal to Rhode Island Department of Education

UPDATE:8/15 Friday's hearing saw the continuation of Dr. Halley's testimony, as well as testimony from Doug Peirson (principal of Hamilton) and Lynn Bushoven (Special Education Coordinator). During his time on the stand, Dr. Halley stated that he was never serious about placing Special Education at Davisville Elementary School, as outlined in the plan voted in on May 22. Dr. Halley stated that he was just playing around with Special Ed to try to "garner more votes" from the School Committee. New enrollment reports show that our school populations continue to grow as we near the start of school and Quidnessett Elementary School will now have three kindergarten classes with two of those classes sharing one room! UPDATE: 8/19 Monday's hearing brought to a conclusion testimony by Lynne Haft, as well as testimony of several principals. The state of confusion of the Administration was painfully evident. Dr. Halley had testified that the TIK (Transition to Kindergarten) program would operate at Fishing Cove, with those children being transported to their neighborhood schools for part of the day. Lynn Bushoven, Special Ed coordinator, testified that the TIK program would be located exclusively at Quidnessett. When the principal of Quidnessett was questioned as to the space available for this program at her school, she testified that TIK was at Davisville. The principals of the various schools were obviously uncomfortable with the prospect of taking a stand against what the School Committee had done, but some of the principals did make it quite clear that their schools were filled to capacity, with no room for additional children or programs. The Quidnessett principal also testified that two kindergarten classes, with a total of 32 children, will be sharing one classroom and a small adjoing office at the same time. Lynne Haft was called to testify on this day. One of her more surprising statements was that her vote on March 27, to table any discussion of reconfiguration until October 2002 (which was subsequently rescinded) was not made in good faith. Mrs. Haft testified that she did not like the motion to table those discussions and that she voted for the motion simply so that she would later have the authority to move to rescind that vote. This coming Friday is the last day of the hearing. Dr. McGregor, director of Special Education, and his paralegal will be testifying on that date. UPDATE: 8/28 - The testimony at the hearing has concluded. The attorneys for both sides have three weeks to prepare and submitt their briefs. A decision from the Board of Education should follow shortly thereafter on this particular appeal. It should also be noted that two to three additional appeals have been filed against the School Committee regarding issues surrounding the decision of this past May. Those appeals have not yet been heard by the Department of Education.