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Law change could mean windfall

School district could receive $4.2M in wake of action by state Legislature.

October 09, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

The Glendale Unified School District could recover more than $4 million in funding following the repeal of a state law that dictated how educators must intervene when students show behavioral problems, but did not cover the costs of the mandates.

The Hughes Bill, A.B. 2586, enacted in 1990, required schools to create thorough intervention plans for special education students who exhibit serious behavioral problems that could lead them to hurt themselves or others.

School psychologists also needed to be certified as behavioral intervention case managers and complete coursework annually to maintain their certifications, said Amy Lambert, assistant superintendent of special education for Glendale Unified.

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State officials, meanwhile, did not provide funding to implement or maintain the intensive plans, resulting in county education offices and the San Diego Unified School District filing a claim for the funds in 1994.

“Costs really became an issue,” Lambert said.

The Legislature repealed the Hughes Bill in July. As a result, California schools are no longer required to develop behavioral intervention plans.

For the years during which Glendale Unified met the requirements of the Hughes Bill from 1993 through 2012, the district could recover $4.2 million.

Even without the state law, Glendale Unified staff will continue to conduct behavioral assessments, set positive intervention plans and develop behavioral goals for special education students, Lambert said.
She also said that she does not anticipate much changing in how Glendale educators respond to students' specific needs or behavior.

“Ultimately, this may appear to be a change in the terminology we use, rather than a change in our practice,” she said.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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