On Tuesday night, September 29, 2020, the Albany Disability Squad hosted a forum on Zoom with all three candidates for the two open seats on the AUSD Board of Education. Candidates were asked for specific position statements on how they would champion AUSD students with disabilities and partner with their families. Based on the quality of responses and the candidates’ readiness to represent the needs of students with disabilities once on the Board, the Squad has voted to endorse Melissa Boyd and Veronica Davidson.
In addition to the two candidates endorsed, the Squad thanks Brian Beall for his participation, and all three for their willingness to serve on the Board and their openness to learning about the district’s obligations to students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“It was gratifying to see candidates for the AUSD Board of Education make time to address the needs of students with disabilities,” forum organizer Daniel Cardozo said. “Albany has a unique opportunity to lead the way in services and support for students with disabilities, to see them as individuals with great potential, and not just mere line items on a budget.”
“As the parent of a student with a disability, I wanted to get a sense of how the candidates would approach Special Education issues on the Board of Education,” added forum Co-Host Amy Apel. “How responsive would they be to parents’ concerns? How would they go about ensuring that the District fulfills its legal obligations to all students with disabilities? Are they committed to inclusiveness?”
Forum Co-Host Nery Castillo-McIntyre stated, “the Albany Disability Squad looks forward to working with the winning candidates and their colleagues already serving on the Board.” He added, “Whoever wins, the Squad will continue collaborating with the AUSD Board of Education, district administration, teachers, paraeducators, families, and other organizations to ensure that students with disabilities receive the education to which they are entitled by law.”
Provided the election results are certified by then, the winning candidates will be sworn into office during the Board of Education Regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 8th, 2020, currently planned to start at 06:00pm on Zoom*.
*Schedule subject to change.