The news comes after Sunita Batra, who served as Director of Special Education at BUSD, filed a lawsuit against the District for wrongful termination. Batra is being represented by Carney Shegerian, the founder of Los Angeles-based employee rights law firm Shegerian & Associates.
In the lawsuit that Batra recently filed, many complaints related to her time at BUSD highlight compliance and legality issues with Family Services Agency of Burbank.
According to the lawsuit, BUSD did not work with Family Services Agency of Burbank in 2014-2015 to provide services to special education students because they did not want to comply with the law, and only wanted to provide the same services offered to general education students. At the time, Family Services Agency of Burbank was providing services to general education students.
The lawsuit alleges that the issues for Batra began when Steve Ferguson joined the BUSD Board as a member, Matt Hill became BUSD Superintendent, and Tom Kissinger became her supervisor.
Ferguson, who has testified that he has connections with Family Services Agency of Burbank, actively sought to bring the mental health services provider on board despite their unwillingness to comply with special education laws.
While Batra was out on leave due to stress caused by the District’s retaliation against her for her complaints of illegality, Hill and Kissinger moved to hire Family Services Agency of Burbank at Ferguson’s behest. Batra again raised concerns over compliance issues.
When Batra was out on leave due to stress caused by her mistreatment, she was demoted to school psychologist, a position she had not held for over twenty years, in an effort to push her out of the District. It was during this time that BUSD officially hired Family Services Agency of Burbank.
BUSD recently renewed their contract with Family Services Agency of Burbank to provide services to special education students, despite confirmation from a number of current employees that issues with compliance are still a concern. This comes in addition to the concern that the failure to comply with the law impacts the school’s most vulnerable students, the special education students.
Carney Shegerian, the founder of Shegerian & Associates, has weighed in on the development.
“Despite the concerns raised against Family Services Agency of Burbank and the impact of their compliance issues on Batra’s employment and wellbeing, Burbank Unified School District has made the upsetting decision to extend their contract,” Shegerian says.
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