Yuba City special-ed teachers file suit over caseloads
Four Yuba City High School special education teachers say in a lawsuit filed against the school district that their class assignments exceed caseload limits set by state law.
The teachers — Dana Lee Gundy, Lisa Heffley, Jenny Leyba and Barbara Taylor — as resource specialists provide services to students with individual education plans who are mainstreamed in general education classes, according to the Feb. 14 filing in Sutter County Superior Court.
The Yuba City Unified School District directed the four to teach special education classes to groups, but did not include students in the classes as part of teacher caseloads limited to 28 students, the lawsuit asserts. The district also assigned the teachers to regular and special education students simultaneously, the suit adds, and that violates state law.
District Superintendent Nancy Aaberg, speaking about special education in the state, said school districts around California seek how to best provide education to students on individual education plans. While such students once went out of the regular classroom to special learning centers, the effort now is to have special-ed teachers, along with the content instructors, in classrooms to assist pupils with individual education plans. The state education code, requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind program and teacher credentialing are among issues that enter into that effort.
"I understand that teachers are concerned," she said. "It is not unique to the Yuba City Unified School District."
Taylor referred questions about the legal filing to attorney Lesley Beth Curtis, who is representing the teachers. A secretary said the attorney was out of the office on Friday. Attorney John Kohn, who is also listed as an attorney for teachers, was out of the office on Friday as well.
Curtis said in the legal filing that she sent two letters to Yuba City Unified and met with school officials before filing the lawsuit.
Aaberg said the district is always interested in trying resolve issues before they reach the courts.
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