The Department of Education is responsible for the Integrated Special Education
Database (ISPED) system. The department has already spent almost $16 million
to make ISPED operational and plans to spend an additional $6 million for on-going development and maintenance. ISPED was developed to address the Felix
consent decree’s requirement that the State develop a seamless system of care for children and adolescents requiring mental health services, supported by a
computerized information system. However, we found that a lack of vision and
long-term planning hampered ISPED from the start.
Although ISPED was implemented in June 2001, it continues to have significant
infrastructure and web site deficiencies that need improvement. For example,
about one-third of the 71 school personnel interviewed noted that the web site is difficult to navigate, confusing in general, and not user friendly. Special education teachers have reported slow response time of the ISPED system, with modules taking four to ten hours to complete per student.
The statewide use of ISPED is also inconsistent. No formal ISPED training has
been established, key ISPED functions are underutilized, and ISPED confidentiality concerns have arisen. Some school personnel seemed unconcerned or unaware of ISPED’s importance as a Felix requirement. We even encountered one school that had begun using ISPED only two weeks before our October 2002 interviews. Staff at other schools were given the option of inputting data into ISPED. A Felix consent decree benchmark