Articles tagged with school sports

NSBA asks the U.S. Education Department for clarification to accommodate students with disabilities in athletic programs

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is calling on the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to better explain its guidance for students with disabilities’ participation in school sports. NSBA has issued a letter  urging OCR to reach out to school boards and educators before issuing wide-reaching guidance that can be construed as statements of agency policy. Among other things, NSBA warns OCR that the guidance issued through a Jan. 25, 2013 “Dear Colleague Letter,” could cause uncertainty in the courts and invite misguided litigation.

“School boards are committed to safely accommodating students with disabilities in athletic programs, ” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “We encourage the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to work with us to find mutually workable, realistic, and practical solutions to implement existing laws.”

NSBA asks OCR to clarify several areas in the “Dear Colleague” letter that suggest the agency is taking a more expansive view of it authority to enforce Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, including its guidance on individual student assessments for sports. NSBA also urges OCR to clarify that it is not adding new requirements nor establishing a new enforcement standard.

“The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights should clarify that its ‘guidance’ is merely a menu of suggested options for school districts and not the statement of new requirements subject to federal enforcement,” said NSBA’s General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón, Jr. “Recent similar guidance has resulted in confusion in the courts about applicable legal standards.”

This expansion of executive authority under the guise of agency guidance is one concern cited by NSBA in its support of the “Local School Boards Governance and Flexibility Act,”(HR 1386). That bill aims to ensure the Department of Education’s actions are consistent with federal law and are educationally, operationally, and financially supportable at the local level. To prevent regulatory overreach into local school board matters, the bill would also require the Department of Education to follow specific steps before promulgating , rules, grant requirements, guidance documents, and other regulatory materials.

Alexis Rice|May 22nd, 2013|Categories: School Boards, School Law, Federal Advocacy|Tags: |

Athletic programs buckling under tough economy

I rarely receive correspondance from my college alma matter and since they’d just concluded an expansive fundraising campaign, I was suprised to see yet another message from them this morning. Unfortunately, they weren’t asking for money. Regretfully, the email read, they had been forced to eliminate its football program.

I admit I’ve never been a big football fan, but I wasn’t immune to the excitment that enveloped our campus when our team reached the championship game in the 1996 NAIA Division II playoffs. I am shocked and dismayed, as I’m sure the college officials who had to make this decision, about the demise of a university tradition. It is a telling sign of the financial times.

Of course, as educators in the K-12 sector, you have been reading for months about this unfortunate trend in school athletic programs; and maybe even bracing yourself against having to make just such a cut. Recently, the East Side Union School District in San Jose, Calif. announced to an angry public it was considering cutting all of it’s athletic programs. Meanwhile, Volusia County school officials in Florida, has eliminated junior varsity sports beginning this spring.

One of the most drastic moves came from the Mount Vernon School District in New York, which I profiled in the current issue of ASBJ. There, district officials nixed the entire athletic program after taxpayers voted the district’s budget down twice. But the public rallied and raised enough money to resurrect the fall and winter sports programs, and is working on bringing back spring sports. It’s future, however, (there and at other school districts across the country) is as uncertain as the economy. Sports are an easy target during tough times, but many of the people I interviewed gave convincing arguments on why, athletic programs, especially during a bad economy, is the thing you really should try to preserve.

Naomi Dillon, Senior Editor

Naomi Dillon|January 9th, 2009|Categories: Budgeting, American School Board Journal|Tags: , |
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