DPS teacher strike could leave thousands of students without specialized classes

DPS teacher strike could leave thousands of students without specialized classes (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - If Dayton Public School teachers end up striking, more than three thousand students with learning disabilities and special needs may have to go without specialized classes.

This is a concern for some parents, who worry their kids will not get the attention they need.

DPS is relying on a contractor to find subs, but the district said it might be tough to find people trained to handle special needs classes.

This is putting families in limbo as we get closer to the first day of school.

Sophomore Nicholas Koze is excited to go back to school, but his father Bobby isn’t thrilled about the circumstances.

"Obviously you want the right people in the right places taking care of children such as my son," Koze said.

Nicholas is autistic and has special teachers at Meadowdale High School that help him every day.

But come the first day of school, they might be on the picket line instead of class, replacing them with a sub.

"If you get someone in there that has no qualifications whatsoever that's bad," Koze said.

DPS said a contractor is trying to find qualified subs to cover these positions. If they can’t, students with special needs will have to attend regular classes.

"As much as possible we're going to try to address the needs of our special needs students," Associate Superintendent Dr. Shelia Burton said.

If a strike happens, under state law the district has to make up for lost time with these students.

"Depending on the length of the strike you're talking about extra days on the end of the year for extra hours added onto the day," Legal Counsel Jyllian Bradshaw said.

Around 20 percent of DPS students have a learning disability. Meaning thousands of kids like Nicholas could be impacted.

"The teachers, we depend on them," Koze said. "As parents, we rely on them to educate our kids whether you have autism or not."

Bobby said he may keep Nicholas home during the strike, but hopes it doesn’t get to that point.

"The children are the ones that suffer the most," Koze said, "because without educators how are they going to get educated?"

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