Officials from the Texas Education Agency are silent regarding why exactly their debated data mining contract took a fall a week prior, costing the state around $2.2 million federal funds pertaining to kids that are disabled.
After spending multiple weeks defending this agreement and how unusually it was initiated, TEA terminated the contract last Friday with SPEDx, a Georgia-based company hired for analyzation of how the schools are serving disable students and help to create a plan for the long term in how to assist these students.
The now-null contract had been a large portion of TEA’s strategy to fix special ed services throughout the state after reports revealed the school districts denied required services to students on behalf of the agency, which TEA has denied.
However, critics questioned why the contract which is central to confronting the priority problem TEA had was awarded to an unknown company prior to allowing multiple firms to bid.
After The Texas Tribune requesting specifics on if TEA followed state protocol or not, a spokesperson named Lauren Callahan stated: “Commissioner of Education Mike Morath has ordered a review of contracting processes within the agency. At this time, we are allowing that review to take place.”
Although TEA had sent SPEDx formal notices that the contract will be terminated a week prior, it had paid them $2.2 million federal funds already for services.
“It feels like a very, very disturbing waste of money,” Cheryl Fries, the founder of a parent advocacy group named Texans for Special Education Reform, the first organization to raise the questions over the contract, said.
People have been questioning the state’s lack of care when it comes to disabled students.
“There is the current issue of the void of leadership at the agency that needs to be addressed…we need to have that position filled,” Steven Aleman, a policy specialist in Disability Rights Texas said.