In a public education system, finding and maintaining resources, both human and financial, requires some maneuvering. Most programs are under-staffed and under-funded. To the extent possible, an IEP facilitation program may be able to use many of the existing structures of a current DR system. In most cases, the introduction of an IEP facilitation program may reduce the amount of resources spent on other more costly processes, like due process or state complaint investigations. Even if your program does not experience a significant number of formal complaint procedures, unresolved conflicts in IEP meetings will strain existing resources. An IEP facilitation system will require upfront resource commitment, but the extent will vary depending on the rollout of your program. Beginning with a pilot program will require less investment of resources up front, and the results can aide you in your quest for continued or increased funding. The most successful IEP facilitation programs have a dedicated budget and capable staff ready to meet the needs of the families and schools they serve.
- What existing resources can be repurposed toward an IEP facilitation program?
- What is the current cost of your DR system without IEP facilitation? Could providing IEP facilitation as an option have avoided some costly cases?
- What is the scope of the initial rollout of the program? Will you start with a pilot or initiate a system-wide change? If considering a pilot program, how many sites will be part of the pilot and what will be the demographic make-up of those sites? Where will they be located? How will the sites be recruited? What commitment will you need from the district administrators for their participation in the pilot program? What will be your metrics and how will you collect data on effectiveness?
- How will facilitation rates be set (per case, per hour)? What will they be?
- How will facilitators be compensated? Flat fee, hourly, mileage/travel expenses?
- Operating without a defined budget creates challenges.
- Do not reinvent the wheel: Using what you already have will save you valuable time and money.