Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Legg, Wetherford miss third special education forum in Pasco County

LAND O'LAKES — Parents and teachers of children with special education needs had looked forward to Wednesday evening for quite some time.

It was their turn to talk to Pasco County state lawmakers about their issues and concerns. They had waited about a year, through two canceled sessions, to get there. And even then, just two of their representatives — Will Weatherford and John Legg — planned to attend.

Then they bowed out, too.

Both Legg and Weatherford said they had personal matters to attend to and wanted to reschedule again.

United School Employees of Pasco vice president Frank Roder, who helped organize the event, praised Weatherford and Legg as the only two members of the county delegation to listen to special education issues in the past. He called the continued delays of their forum unfortunate and potentially problematic, though.

"Some people are thinking the worst, that they don't want to meet with us," Roder said. "I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt. But I do have my concerns."

Weatherford sought to allay them.

He noted that he spent two full days this week at forums, listening to the community about education and other issues. But something unexpected popped up, he said, making it impossible for him to attend Wednesday night's event.

"I have asked to reschedule it on a date before session," Weatherford said.

Legg said he alerted the school district about two weeks ago that he might not be able to attend because of family activities.

"I put in a disclaimer when they first set this up," he said. "I try to go every year. But the reality is, you can't be everywhere all the time."

He said it might be better to have group members visit his office to talk about the issues.

One of the group's concerns was that it had scheduled several parents to present their personal stories and discuss their needs from the Legislature. The district's more than 600 special education teachers also had been invited in a show of solidarity for a dedicated time to put forth these issues.

Some of the items that appeared on the agenda were:

• Special education funding — Students with special needs who receive McKay scholarships get more money to attend a private school than if they remain in public school.

• Teacher performance pay — It's not clear how to measure teacher effectiveness and student performance among learners with special needs.

Summer Romagnoli, a government affairs supervisor for the school district, said she would attend the meeting and relay the topics to the lawmakers. She stressed that the district leadership understands that the lawmakers have limited time available, particularly in this final week before committees begin meeting regularly in Tallahassee.

Overall, though, she said that Legg and Weatherford — both of whom chair key education committees in the state House — have proven to be "highly accessible" and have helped the district with regard to important matters for all children.

Roder agreed with that assessment, and suggested that perhaps in the future the special education group should look for other ways to meet with the lawmakers.

"We're going to have to come up with a new game plan," he said.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

Legg, Wetherford miss third special education forum in Pasco County 01/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry

    Military

    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.
  2. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse

    National

    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  3. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  4. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  5. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”