WCSD special education program moving to new school, parents angry after 'hostile' meeting

Parents of Hunter Lake Elementary school students were angry after a 'hostile' meeting Wednesday night.

In a Wednesday night meeting that one parent described as "hostile," Washoe County School District officials outlined their plan to move a longtime special education program to a different school.

The so-called Day Treatment program for "students with extreme behavioral and social/emotional challenges" will soon be moved from Sarah Winnemucca Elementary to Hunter Lake Elementary.

WCSD deputy superintendent Kristen McNeill said she expects the move will save money since the new Day Treatment program will be much closer to a similar program for middle and high schoolers with special needs called Turning Point.

But McNeill couldn't say how much money the change would save the district, which has been battling a structural deficit for several years.

"We didn't have a lot of answers tonight because we're going to be putting that plan together," McNeill said.

"(The cost savings) just depends on how many students are going to transfer over. Like I said, I don't know what that is going to be for right now."

Many Hunter Lake parents left the meeting frustrated by the lack of answers from district officials.

"There was a lot of angry parents and there was administrators and superintendents that could not give us answers to our questions," Trina Spaulding said.

"They don't have answers for anybody."

Members of the media were not allowed inside the meeting.

WCSD spokeswoman Victoria Campbell explained that the decision to exclude media was based on parent privacy.

"We want parents to be able to express their concerns and ask questions freely and privately, without worrying that they will be videotaped," Campbell wrote. "This was a decision by the WCSD General Counsel today."

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