Disability rights advocates are concerned that three top jobs in special education at Baltimore City schools have been vacant for months.
The unfilled positions include executive director of special education, director of due process and parent response, and director of citywide, separate public day and nonpublic programs.
"All three of them have a major bearing on the delivery of special education," said Leslie Seid Margolis, managing attorney with Disability Rights Maryland. "These are critical positions and they need to be filled."
City school officials are working to fill the jobs, said Sean Conley, the district's chief academic officer. He said he anticipates hiring an executive director in two months. The job has been vacant since February.
Alma Advisory Group, a Chicago-based education and employment consulting firm, has been recruited to help hire an executive director. Conley said Alma will hold meetings with advocates and families as the search progresses.
The executive director's salary ranges between $123,500 and $131,000.
"This is a critical position in the district, and we are working with Alma to ensure that we identify and hire an experienced, highly competent leader," Conley said in a statement.
Job ads have been placed online for the two director positions. The director of due process and parental response manages the department that conducts investigations and resolves complaints from parents. The salary will range between $90,000 and $120,000, a schools spokeswoman said.
The director of citywide, separate public day and nonpublic programs manages six specialized school for students with disabilities. The job comes with a salary between $84,300 and $107,200, a schools spokeswoman said.
The district's 12,500 special education students make up about 15 percent of the student population. City school administrators budgeted $189 million for special education next school year. The school district also budgeted $34.8 million for nonpublic placements next school year.
Special education costs account for nearly a quarter of the district's $1.31 billion budget.