Concerned About Special Needs Students

I was a longtime employee of Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) but quit this past January because I was so alarmed at what I experienced that I wanted to alert the public. The Santa Barbara Unified School District has recently hired Maxim Healthcare Services, a privately held corporation with a history of defrauding Medicaid and the Veteran’s Affairs program of millions of dollars in fraudulent billings for services not rendered or otherwise not reimbursable. In fact, Maxim’s history of fraud and overbilling resulted in a $150 million settlement with theDepartment of Justice.

Maxim is a new development for SBUSD. It wasn’t here when I left for Santa Cruz, California, a little over two years ago. This corporation was hired to provide “para educators” for the school district’s most vulnerable population: special needs students. These wonderful students are some of my favorite people in the world, and their education is not for sale; it is not to be outsourced to a company with years of defrauding some of our country’s most important institutions. And remember, Maxim has been hired to work with students least able to advocate for their education.

From what I understand Maxim employees are in many, many schools in the district, which no doubt is extremely lucrative. These employees can be moved from jobsite to jobsite a moment’s notice, and they apparently can’t apply to the SBUSD while under contract with Maxim.

Jobs that anyone used to be able to access on the substitute website AESOP are taken by employees of this corporation. A Maxim employee was paid by the company to leave to break a strike by health-care workers in the Bay Area for one week. Another accidentally left a disabled student downtown by themselves.

Students need stability, consistency, and competency — any educator knows that this. Any parent in the district should be alarmed and outraged that this has been allowed to happen, and any taxpayer should be extraordinarily concerned that a penny has been given to Maxim wherein it should be devoted to finding and hiring the best people to work with our students. Public education is not for sale; the rights of disabled students and in fact all students is currently threatened.


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