SUMMARY OF:A Sunset Review of the Department of Education and Early Development, and the Department of Health and Social Services, Special Education Service Agency

Why DLA Performed This Audit

The audit was performed to determine if there is a continued need for SESA and whether its termination date should be extended. The agency is set to sunset June 30, 2021, and will have one year from that date to conclude its administrative operations.

Report Conclusions

Overall, the audit concludes the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) served the public’s interest by assisting school districts in providing students affected by low incidence disabilities (LID) an education to meet the children’s unique needs; providing opportunities to enhance teachers’ and paraprofessionals’ capabilities; and providing LID and special education resources.

As part of this audit, a survey was sent to the 51 school district special education directors served by SESA. Thirty district directors responded (59 percent response rate). In general, survey respondents viewed SESA services, staff availability, and expertise favorably. Survey questions and responses are included as Appendix C of this report.

In accordance with AS 44.66.010(a)(6), SESA is scheduled to terminate on June 30, 2021. We recommend the legislature extend SESA’s termination date to June 30, 2029, which is the eight year maximum allowed per statute.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. SESA’s executive director should implement written procedures to ensure reclassification of a student’s referred disability is adequately supported and communicated to school district personnel.