CMS Special Education Changes: Parents meet with CMS leaders Thursday

Here’s an update to a story we've been following closely regarding proposed changes to special needs programs at Randolph Middle School and other special needs programs within CMS. This Thursday, parents met with district leaders.

A local mother has asked CMS Board members and Senator Thom Tillis to put a stop the district's plan to phase out special education classes at Randolph Middle School and replace them with classes at neighborhood or home schools.

Related: New CMS Superintendent speaks out about Special Education Programs

"It's January. August is seven months. It is not enough to put this all together," said Vanessa Infanzon, a mother of a special needs student at Randolph.

Infanzon said the meeting was more like "a dog and pony show."

"Parents had really good questions and the staff just couldn't answer the questions and the parents called them out on it," Infanzon said. 

Her number one complaint against the switch is the timing. The first phase set to start a special academic curriculum in some middle and high schools this fall.

Brian Schultz, the Chief Academic Officer for CMS was at Thursday morning's meeting with parents and said they'll be ready.

"Training is already being developed and our heavy professional development happens over the summer when they're not busy with the day to day and can really focus and learn."

Schultz said it's been a goal for the past ten years to make home schools more inclusive for all students.

But Infanzon said parents have been left out.

"CMS made this decision without talking to the parents, without asking for our input. They're not hearing us.”

The district's Chief Academic Officer said CMS has several parent meetings set up meant to kick off late January. He said parent input will matter.

"The one-on-one discussions I’ve had, these community engagement meetings will certainly inform our practices and help us think in a better way."

CMS said these parent meetings are not open to the public, but the district will reach out to each family impacted by this switch.