Recently, in the Talk Back section of the Aiken Standard, a person questioned why special education teachers were giving general education teachers iPads purchased with special education funds.

In October 2009, Aiken County Public Schools was given supplemental funds designated for students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 through the American Re-Investment and Recovery Act.

This amount exceeded $5 million over a 24-month period.

Additionally, the State Department of Education provided more than $2 million for students with disabilities in Aiken County public schools last year due to a failure to meet the state’s Maintenance of Effort for the provision of special education programming during the 2009-2010 school year.

A strategic plan for the expenditure of these supplemental funds was developed by the Department of Special Programs with input from stakeholders to support schools in the provision of programming for students with disabilities.

A significant portion of both the ARRA funds and the MOE funds were used by the Department of Special Programs and by schools to purchase technology for use with students with disabilities - in the general education classrooms and special education classrooms.

Without a better understanding of what exactly the person in the Talk Back section was referring to or which school, I can only assume that the iPads were given to general education teachers to utilize in their classrooms to remediate, re-teach, or provide practice on skills and concepts that the student shows a weakness.

This is an appropriate use of the technology for students with disabilities and those at-risk students who are being supported by the School Intervention Team.

The district condones the use of technology to support instructional purposes for all its students. However, any inappropriate use of the technology should be reported to the school administration.

Salvatore A. Minolfo, Ph.D.

Director of Special Programs

Aiken County Public Schools