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STATISTICS, LEGAL MANDATES, AND FUNDING ISSUES Pottstown School District Special Education 2008-2009.

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Presentation on theme: "STATISTICS, LEGAL MANDATES, AND FUNDING ISSUES Pottstown School District Special Education 2008-2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 STATISTICS, LEGAL MANDATES, AND FUNDING ISSUES Pottstown School District Special Education

2 Findings of 2007 Study – from Report of February 2009 Between 2002 and 2007, special education enrollment [in Pennsylvania] has increased by more than 25,000 students.

3 Findings of 2007 Study – from Report of February 2009 Providing a basic quality education for special education students costs, on average, 2.3 times as much as educating students without special needs. 391 PA districts have inadequate funding for special education - $1 million shortfall per year per district (about $2,000 per student.) Underfunding special education impacts the education of all students and the wider community.

4 Overview Special Education Report (State Plan) Compliance Monitoring Pottstown statistics and trends Reasons for additional staffing Reasons that special education costs more Recommendations

5 Special Education Report for PDE Current program strengths and highlights Identification of students with LD Exiting statistics Ensuring maximum integration Supplementary aids and services Proficiency in reading and math Behavior support services Training and personnel development Program profile

6 Cyclical Compliance Monitoring/ Facilitated Self-Assessment: 23 Topic Areas 1. Assistive Technology 2. Positive Behavior Support 3. Childfind 4. Confidentiality 5. Dispute Resolution 6. Graduation rates 7. Drop-out Rates 8. Suspensions & Expulsions

7 Cyclical Compliance Monitoring: Facilitated Self-Assessment - continued 9. Facilities report 10. Independent Educational Evaluations 11.Least Restrictive Environment 12.Extended school year 13.Related services 14.Caseload & age range 15.Parent training 16.Participation in PSSA & PASA

8 Cyclical Compliance Monitoring: Facilitated Self-Assessment - continued 17. Public school enrollment 18.Surrogate parent system 19.Personnel training 20.Intensive interagency (Cordero cases) 21.Summary of Academic Achievement & Functional Performance 22.Disproportionate representation 23.Student record reviews

9 Trends: Students & Staffing K-12 District Totals Students Teachers Assistants Related Services 31013

10 Current Special Education Numbers o Elementary230 students / 23 teachers / 38 assistants o Middle School129 students / 12 teachers / 18 assistants o High School148 students / 14 teachers / 21 assistants Totals: 507 Students / 49 Teachers / 79 Assistants

11 Reasons for additional staffing MORE PROGRAMS Life Skills Student: IU class $32,000 tuition + related services + transportation $60,000 Life Skills Student: In-district = $ 15, students = savings of $1,560,580

12 Reasons for additional staffing MORE PROGRAMS Autism Support Student: IU class $40,000 tuition + related services + transportation $72,000 Autism Support Student: In-district = $ 25, students = savings of $700,425

13 Reasons for additional staffing MORE STUDENTS Early Intervention Students moving into Pottstown Students being returned to District placements

14 Reasons for additional staffing MORE NEEDS Significant disabilities Behavioral & emotional support Inclusion Case management and LEA representation

15 Reasons that special education costs more Time Equipment & technology Personnel Placements outside the district Training Mental health issues Inclusionary programming Meeting federal & state regulatory requirements Potential for litigation and due process From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009

16 Excerpt from PSBA Bulletin, Feb.2009 Special Legal Liability Note: Each child with a disability, as defined in the IDEA, is entitled to a free appropriate public education. If the school district fails or refuses to provide FAPE to any student so entitled, there will be legal liability, leading to such things as compensatory education, litigation costs, the administrative burdens of litigation and attorneys fees and court costs. These costs can be expensive, easily exceeding $100,000. Legal liability insurance does not cover all of the costs or even a substantial portion of the costs. The best way of avoiding legal liability and the costs of litigation is to ensure that all students are provided with FAPE and that the school district has the tools available to prove that FAPE is being offered.

17 Special Education Costs per Student Base cost for student without special needs: $8,000 Factoring in other considerations, costing out estimate per pupil: $11,469 (additional for special education) Pottstown spends less than most other districts in Montgomery county, when comparing these additional costs $12,933 (Range = $10, ,000) From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009

18 Reductions in Special Education Costs in Pottstown New programs Increased capacity for behavior/emotional support Inclusion Decreased evaluations and identifications Exiting students from special education

19 Impact of RTI on rate of identification students found eligible students found eligible students found eligible 34 X $13,000 = $442,000.00

20 Resources make a difference Half of all special education students in the wealthiest districts meet standards in reading and math, while only ¼ of these students meet standards in the poorest districts. From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009

21 Recommended Strategies From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009 Teacher preparation – All teachers should be prepared to meet needs of diverse learners.

22 Recommended Strategies From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009 Additional staff to support inclusion, communication, specialized service delivery, and post-secondary transition.

23 Recommended Strategies From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009 Additional teachers – regular and special education – to reduce class sizes.

24 Recommended Strategies From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009 On-site training capacity – use of instructional coaches and disability-specific experts.

25 Recommended Strategies From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009 Increase availability in school buildings of administrators with expertise in special education law.

26 Goals of Funding & Budgeting Allow for delivery of what the law requires Improve early intervening programming Effective instruction for students to move out of special education Reduce drop-out rates Reduce staff turn-over Reduce long-term costs

27 Sources of Information Special Education Report (State Plan) Sept Compliance Monitoring/FSA, March 2009 Costing-Out Resources Report, February 2009 PSBA Bulletin, February 2009 MCIU Cost Plan Penn Data Report, December 2006/2007/2008

28 Conclusion District is required to fund special education to ensure FAPE and meet legally mandated requirements. Upfront spending and investment in special education, in order to provide an appropriate and adequate education, results in outcomes that benefit the entire District and community – in many important ways, including financial.

29 Thank you!


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