June 13, 2018, LoHod.com (NY): Mount Vernon schools to overhaul special ed department per court agreement https://www.lohud.com/story/news/education/2018/06/13/mount-vernon-overhaul-special-education-court-agreement/697444002/ The city school district has agreed to hire a monitor and make sweeping changes to its special education department, according to a settlement that has ended a five-year legal battle started by several families of children with special needs. The federal civil lawsuit was filed in May 2013 on behalf of eight Mount Vernon students ages 7 to 19 — identified in court documents by their initials — who claimed they were denied education and services for their disabilities because of “systemic deficiencies” that were essentially ignored by district and state officials…. There are about 100 goals and actions the district has to accomplish, according to the settlement. They include fixing procedures to identify students with special needs, training teachers and staff, involving parents more in their children’s education plans, measuring student progress better, reorganizing the special education department, and addressing suspension rates among students with disabilities…. As the city's student population dropped in recent years, the number of kids requiring disability services has increased. In 2006-07, there were nearly 12,500 students in the district, of which 1,356 or 11 percent had disabilities. A decade later, there are about 7,800 students, of which 18 percent, or 1,426, have been identified as having disabilities, according to state data….