SCUSD Response to Sacramento County Grand Jury Report

Press release

Sacramento, CA - As uncomfortably difficult as it is to read, the report issued by the Sacramento County Grand Jury identified accurate shortcomings with regard to SCUSD’s past practices in special education. The notion that we are failing to provide appropriate educational services to our most vulnerable students and those with disabilities is unacceptable to every educator and administrator in Sacramento City Unified. The report is a sobering reminder that our students and families deserve better and we must do better by them.

“The Sac City Unified School Board acknowledges the valid concerns expressed in this Grand Jury report about the need to improve special education as an equal component of our district’s general education program. We take the criticisms in this report with the utmost seriousness,” said Lavinia Phillips, SCUSD Board of Education president.

“The findings, related concerns, and recommendations provided by the Grand Jury will be reviewed and responded to with the focus on our most important constituents: students, and our most important goal: improving their outcomes. The school board is deeply committed to provide the leadership and oversight necessary to ensure that SCUSD students can access the special education services they need and deserve,” said Phillips.

The troubling criticisms contained in this report are known to the District. SCUSD is actively engaged in the process of improving special education services, including correcting systems that contribute to a disproportionately high number of students in general and Black and African-American students, in particular, identified as having disabilities. As the report stated, a “hopeful sign” and catalyst for change, is the legal settlement reached in May 2023 with Black Parallel School Board and the use of an independent monitor to develop an action plan with specific goals and timetables.

“The Grand Jury expressed its clear support for an independent monitor and measures like those contained in the action plan, which includes all – or most – of the specific recommendations contained in the grand jury report,” said Lisa Allen, SCUSD Superintendent. “The District looks forward to taking action to implement the finalized plan and continuing the self-reflection and hard work necessary to create the changes our families deserve.”

Additionally, SCUSD welcomes the support and collaboration of the California Department of Education (CDE), California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE), Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE), Black Parallel School Board (BPSB) and our labor partners in this critical endeavor.