Interim Superintendent Barbara Pinsak, center, speaks during the Wednesday, Dec. 6 BOE meeting. ERIN ROLL/STAFF

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

A proposed resolution to do an assessment of Montclair’s special education program was among the items brought up during a long, occasionally tense board of education meeting Wednesday night.

In its current form, the resolution calls for several components, including data on the number of special education students in each grade, determining how needs were classified and what evaluations were involved. It also recommends a review of child study teams, out of district placements and communication.

At the microphone, parents discussed issues such as a large number of students with special needs, including in the elementary grades, being threatened with suspension.

Since the board was reading a different version of the resolution from that which was provided to the public, some parents accused the district of deleting sections of the resolution that would have been effective. However, Interim Superintendent Barbara Pinsak said that this was not the case, and that any changes were to make the language more concise.

After several parents verbally criticized Pinsak during the public comment period, Board President Laura Hertzog reminded the audience of the rules of conduct, which discourage audience members from discussing specific students or employees.

Besides the discussion of special education, there was also mention of the long-running discussion of the student advocate position, and a recent study done on the achievement gap. Board Vice President Franklin Turner said that it was a disappointment that the board had received what was a comprehensive report, and then not taken much action on it.

Earlier in the meeting, Dr. Felice Harrison-Crawford gave an overview of the district’s summer enrichment camps, which the district resumed in-house management of in 2016, and there was continued discussion of the capital repairs presented at the Board of School Estimate meeting.

This is a developing story. Follow Montclair Local for more information.