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SC Education Department places Jasper County schools under special monitoring

The S.C. Department of Education has placed Jasper County School District under special monitoring, state officials announced June 16.

The department plans to review the district’s special education programs to ensure students with disabilities are getting the services they are entitled to under federal laws. The heightened review comes after months of complaints by parents about transportation issues.

The department has asked Jasper for records relating to the past two years and will create a corrective action plan for the district after reviewing the records, spokesman Ryan Brown said. He added that district administrators have been helpful and responsive so far.

Jasper County district officials could not be reached for comment.

The focused monitoring began June 3, according to a letter from state officials to Superintendent Rechel Anderson.

Focused monitoring is a step above the normal oversight the Education Department does but is below a declaration of a state of emergency. The department conducts reviews of special education programs regularly to ensure compliance. It opens reviews if the department verifies complaints, as happened in Jasper.

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The review is specifically on special education services, but the bus issues are the root cause of most if not all of the issues, according to Brown. A separate review of transportation services for all students is also ongoing.

When students weren’t provided transportation, they missed out on services they are entitled to receive. In such cases, the district is obligated to make up that lost time.

Jasper hasn’t.

“Nothing was being done to ensure the instruction they missed and the services they may require were being provided to them,” Brown said.

He called the issues in Jasper “severe.” The state has asked for the district to provide the requested documents immediately so state officials can craft a plan to get the district back in compliance as quickly as possible.

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