Dripping Springs ISD to conduct audit of special education department

Dripping Springs ISD board
Dripping Springs ISD board of trustee member Stefani Reinold, left, tells the board Dec. 13 that she would like to see more frequent audits of district departments. (Screenshot courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)

Dripping Springs ISD board of trustee member Stefani Reinold, left, tells the board Dec. 13 that she would like to see more frequent audits of district departments. (Screenshot courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify causes for the new audit.

The special education department in Dripping Springs ISD will undergo an audit by an outside agency after the district discovered two policies missing.

The district's board of trustees voted to approve the new audit at the Dec. 13 voting meeting.

The special education department is currently under audit by the state as part of a regular cycle of reviews to ensure all Texas school districts comply with state and federal regulations. As part of the audit, the Texas Education Agency found Dripping Springs was missing two policies. The audit did not include a system or programmatic review, according to board documents.

Both missing policies were installed by the board by unanimous vote on Dec. 13. The first policy requires that teachers undergo annual training on educating students with dyslexia. The second policy states that when a child moves from early childhood intervention (ECI) to early childhood special education (ESCE) services, the district will develop an individualized education program (IEP) by the child’s third birthday, according to documents.


After another Dec. 13 vote, the district will pay for a more comprehensive review of the department. The last overarching review of the department was in 2016, according to the board documents. Board members also pointed out the limited scope of the state's desk review, while Superintendent Holly Morris-Kuentz said the board has been wanting a deep dive into the department since last school year.

While Trustee Stefani Reinold voted to approve the second audit, she recommended the board discuss a regular cycle of district-led audits, rather than waiting to do an audit after a problem arises.

“It seems like whenever there’s a problem in our district, we do an audit of that department as some sort of way to kind of, I don’t know, show some transparency or some good will to the community and also for our own sake, but I feel like we as a board need to think about putting some better systems in place,” Reinold said.
By Maggie Quinlan

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Maggie joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July 2021 after a year spent covering crime, courts and politics at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, near the border with Idaho. In Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs, Maggie covers education, business, healthcare, transportation, real estate development and nonprofits. Prior to CI, she graduated from Washington State University, where she was managing editor of the student newspaper and a section editor at her hometown newspaper based in Moscow, Idaho. Maggie dreamed of living in the Austin area for years and feels honored to serve the communities of Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs.