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Sahuarita re-opens schools but some special needs kids stay home

Posted at 5:52 PM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-02 22:13:30-04

SAHUARITA, Ariz. - In Sahuarita, the teacher walkout is leading to more challenges for parents and students facing plenty of challenges already.  

The district has re-opened but felt it could not care for some of its special needs students so it told them to stay home. 

At Sahuarita's Primary School Wednesday district superintendent Manny Valenzuela was seeing off students completing their first day back since the strike.

Sahuarita's on a half day schedule with about 60 percent of students back in school.  But these students do not include about 25 special needs students.  The district said those students should stay home because their needs are so acute.

Dr. Valenzuela says, “Perhaps medically fragile situations or severe academic learning needs that require a high level of specialization and also higher or lower ratio,  or more personalized ratio of support and so we only had between 15 and 20% of those staff who are very specialized staff. So it was not possible that we'd be able to deliver those services in a safe environment right now."

One parent told us she had to scramble for child care for her special needs child. She's concerned about the strain of having to make up missed work and she says there's a basic fairness issue that if her child is excluded the entire district should have stayed closed until it's ready to handle everyone.
Both that parent and Erika Rios say they do support the teachers' push for better pay and resources.
Rios says she'll just adjust to the walkout.

"To me it's just life.  I didn't sign up.  I didn't know I was having a special needs daughter and I have her now and she's a hundred percent blessing and part of having her is being able to adapt to not just her situation but the situation of the school and her being in a public school system which I'm a hundred percent grateful for."
That Sahuarita District says it will adjust to make sure the special needs students not in school will get the specialized attention they need to catch up.