Pottstown school district special education 2008 2009
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Pottstown School District Special Education 2008-2009. Statistics, Legal Mandates, and Funding Issues. 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.

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Pottstown School DistrictSpecial Education2008-2009

Statistics,

Legal Mandates, and Funding Issues


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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.


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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.


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Overview

  • Special Education Report (State Plan)

  • Compliance Monitoring

  • Pottstown statistics and trends

  • Reasons for additional staffing

  • Reasons that special education costs more

  • Recommendations


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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


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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


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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


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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



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Current Special Education Numbers

  • Elementary 230 students / 23 teachers / 38 assistants

  • Middle School 129 students / 12 teachers / 18 assistants

  • High School 148 students / 14 teachers / 21 assistants

    Totals: 507 Students / 49 Teachers /

    79 Assistants


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Reasons for additional staffing

MORE PROGRAMS

Life Skills Student: IU class

$32,000 tuition + related services + transportation = @ $60,000

Life Skills Student: In-district =

$ 15,412

35 students = savings of $1,560,580


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Reasons for additional staffing

MORE PROGRAMS

Autism Support Student: IU class

$40,000 tuition + related services + transportation = @ $72,000

Autism Support Student: In-district

= $ 25,305

15 students = savings of $700,425


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Reasons for additional staffing

MORE STUDENTS

  • Early Intervention

  • Students moving into Pottstown

  • Students being returned to District placements


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Reasons for additional staffing

MORE NEEDS

  • Significant disabilities

  • Behavioral & emotional support

  • Inclusion

  • Case management and LEA representation


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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


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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.


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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 = $10,000-19,000)

    From Costing-Out Study/Report 2009


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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


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Impact of RTI on rate of identification

2006-07 105 students found eligible

2007-08 107 students found eligible

2008-09 73 students found eligible

34 X $13,000 = $442,000.00


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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


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Recommended StrategiesFrom Costing-Out Study/Report 2009

Teacher preparation – All teachers should be prepared to meet needs of diverse learners.


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Recommended StrategiesFrom Costing-Out Study/Report 2009

Additional staff to support inclusion, communication, specialized service delivery, and post-secondary transition.


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Recommended StrategiesFrom Costing-Out Study/Report 2009

Additional teachers – regular and special education – to reduce class sizes.


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Recommended StrategiesFrom Costing-Out Study/Report 2009

On-site training capacity – use of instructional coaches and disability-specific experts.


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Recommended StrategiesFrom Costing-Out Study/Report 2009

Increase availability in school buildings of administrators with expertise in special education law.


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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


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Sources of Information

  • Special Education Report (State Plan) Sept. 2008

  • Compliance Monitoring/FSA, March 2009

  • Costing-Out Resources Report, February 2009

  • PSBA Bulletin, February 2009

  • MCIU Cost Plan 2008-2009

  • Penn Data Report, December 2006/2007/2008


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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.