Friday, June 01, 2001

Watchdog finds school violations

Special programs in Covington are under scrutiny

By Lori Hayes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The state's education watchdog has revealed a laundry list of state and federal law violations in Covington Independent Schools' special-education and alternative programs.

        Following a two-month investigation at four of the district's schools, the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability found multiple “troubling” and “problematic” cases in which students were not given proper instruction or services, such as classes left without adequate books and even teachers, for weeks.

        “These students have struggled and have not received the education to which they are entitled,” stated a report of the state's findings completed last week.

        State investigators did not recommend sanctions or disciplinary action against the district, citing district leaders' cooperation and quick response to correct the deficiencies.

        The infractions listed in the report were found this spring, months after a separate state audit had been done and new leadership was in place.

        Superintendent Jack Moreland acknowledged that the district has been negligent in some areas but is committed to improving.

        “It's a whole new series of issues that we have to deal with, and we'll deal with them,” he said.

        “We're pedaling as fast as we can.”

        The OEA report is the most recent in a series of critical state reviews of the district, one of the lowest-performing in the state.

        Covington officials have been leading districtwide reform efforts for the past year, after a voluntary audit by the Kentucky Department of Education criticized the district's instruction and management.

        OEA officials plan to return to Covington this fall for follow-up visits.


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- Watchdog finds school violations
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