By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Now that a layoff period is over, special education teachers and staff are returning to Angels Camp.
The Special Education Administrative Unit for Calaveras County is moving into newly designed offices at its old home base in the county Office of Education.
Six years ago, the Calaveras County office coordinated special education for itself, Amador and Tuolumne counties.
But the state demanded layoffs, and to help maintain the special education program's stability, the county Office of Education allowed teachers and administrative staff to be hired by individual districts.
"We would have had to lay off according to seniority, and that could have meant that some teachers from Amador may have had to fill positions in Calaveras or Tuolumne," county Superintendent of Schools John Brophy said. "It could have been very disruptive to programs."
But the layoff provision ended recently, and, Brophy said, everyone agreed the special education program in Calaveras County would work better if the county Office of Education again had control.
Teachers will remain with the school districts, but the director, administrative staff and some teachers who work countywide will be based in Angels, Brophy said.
The office space at 185 S. Main St. that served as Angels Camp Branch Library for six years is being remodeled to accommodate about 18 special ed administrative staff members, including the director, program specialists, psychologists, secretaries, teachers for the visually and hearing impaired and an occupational therapist.
Brophy said the new arrangement allows for greater flexibility. People who now work for the county can be used anywhere in the county, instead of being limited to specific districts, Brophy said.
The office will also be used for training workshops and staff meetings.
He said there are about 800 students out of a Calaveras County student body of 7,000 who need some form of special education, from help with reading or math to those who are severely handicapped.