Charter schools 'amassing' special ed cash?

Full story: The Morning Call

Through their local school districts, taxpayers pay millions of dollars to educate special education students enrolled in Pennsylvania 's increasing number of charter schools.
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“Howdy, Ya'll!”

Since: Feb 07

Allentown

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#168
Aug 2, 2009
 
Reality wrote:
<quoted text>
I'd totally agree with your last point, but with the taxpayers footing the bill, I think they should know what they're paying for. You can go to the school's business agent and find out how much it costs for each of the football player to play, or how much the advance math is costing per student. You can even can even find out how much its costing per student for the assisted lunch program. So why can't you find out what a student with an IEP costs the district. I realize some people would be outraged, when they find out 10% of their student population is costing 30 to 40% of the budget. There are districts in the state that number is close to 50% of their budget. Maybe there should be a better review process to IEP's, instead of just handing them the keys to the money box. But I feel if there was the possibility of the public finding out, what was in little Johnny and Mary's IEP, there would be fewer IEP's and the ones that still existed, would have fewer requirements, since the counselors writing them would fear a review and ridicule of some of their questionable decisions. I valso wish there was some way for you to read some of these IEP's, I think you'd have a differant outlook on them.
I totally agree that these IEPs need many more eyeballs reading them. When tax money is being spent, privacy concerns need to take a back seat. I firmly believe that controlling the purse strings in our society leads to corruption - we simply need a method for weeding out any "bogus" IEPs that are unncecessarily eating up tax dollars. Taxpayers have a right to know the details about a huge line item on their tax bill! There must be a way to comprimise on this issue.
Storm

Whitehall, PA

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#169
Aug 2, 2009
 
Monkeymamma:

You wrote:

I firmly believe that controlling the purse strings in our society leads to corruption - we simply need a method for weeding out any "bogus" IEPs that are unncecessarily eating up tax dollars.

Where are you coming from? I want to read your medical records. Let me know the doctor's name so I can call and read all about you and what makes you tick. Not really, especially agter reading your post. The process for IEP is already extensive and it is protected by the law. For God's sake we were required to shred any working document that contained information concerning the IEP. Are you saying you want to have someone else review the authenticity of the IEP. Let me tell you something. I was in every level of education, teacher and administrator, and I am telling you we do not want to identify students for special education. That is not a feather in one's cap. When a teacher made me aware of a student that may be considered for special education, they had to go through the Instructional Support Team and then suggestions were given to try other strategies, techniques before the child was even considered for testing. After a period of time, depending on the severity of the problem, the student was then recommended for testing by a school psycholgist. This process invcolved a series of tests and classroom observations that were documented and made part of the student's record. What do you mean by a "bogus" IEP?????????? Are you saying that school personnel identify a student as special needs for purposes other than then need for extra help?????
You are then clueless. Teachers, educators, do not , I repeat do not want a student identified special needs. It serves no purpose except to help that student learn using other methods.

It appears to me you are concerned with the cost? I will say that students who have multiple handicaps or severely mentally retarded could be a great cost to the district but that is the way it goes. It would be like saying if a person has a catastrophic health concern- we should just let them die. I had a students who did not talk, could not learn, could not understand directions, had difficulty walking and could not be left alone for a minute. I had him while he was 5-10 years old. He came through the front door and we had to educate him. I do not know where you are going with this, but in situations like this, you cannot think about saving money. If you want, take your attack against teacher salaries, benefits, district spending, cutting materials ordered by the school, extracurriculars, etc. but please stay away from these costs to educate these students.

One other thing, these students are protected by law. You have a better chance of getting ice cream in hell than to try to cut costs of special needs students. They have advisory groups becasue of people like you. Their lawyers just waiting to spring a law suit on someone who disputes the student's program. As a matter of fact, some lawsuits are brought against the district becasue they will provide one program, but the parents want more, thus the lawyers slap a suit againsit the school district.

Find another battle to fight. I would be curious as to your extent of experience in education.
Storm

Whitehall, PA

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#170
Aug 2, 2009
 
Reality:

After writing my last post to you I went back to read some other "stuff" you wrote. I came across this:

So why can't you find out what a student with an IEP costs the district. I realize some people would be outraged, when they find out 10% of their student population is costing 30 to 40% of the budget.

So let's see if a school district has a 30,000,000 budget, you are saying that 40% of this is special education or $12,000,000. I know one thing, special education costs do add to the budget but we do not bring the children to school using limos, and we do not feed them Lobster and Fillet. I would say that I could run one unbeleiveable program with that money. It would mean that I would not have to ask parents to bring in snacks for the kids becasue I have 120 million to run the program.

Again, please state how much experience you have in the classroom or in education. I am going to take a wild guess but I have a feeling you are currently a school board memeber or a former board member. The usual percentage of special needs students is around 12% but could get as high as 15%. I remember one year I had about 75 special ed students out of 650 students and if my math is correct that is around 12%. Even if the cost of educating a regular student is $7500 times 75 is $562,000. If we said the cost of educating a special needs students would be $10,000 times the 75 kids would give you 750,000 which is 2.5% of the 30,000,000 budget. I am running these figures as estimates while I type this post, but they are close to actual numbers. I may be off a few thouands here or there.
hmmmmm

Irvington, NJ

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#171
Aug 3, 2009
 
Storm wrote:
I had a students who did not talk, could not learn, could not understand directions, had difficulty walking and could not be left alone for a minute. I had him while he was 5-10 years old. He came through the front door and we had to educate him. extent of experience in education.
You just proved the point some of us are trying to make. You said that this child couldn't learn. What was the point of this child being in the school system? There has to be an alternate method of dealing with some areas of special ed. It should not be on the backs of the property owner. Students with emotional or behavioral problems should not be allowed to disrupt a classroom because they have an IEP. This happens frequently. Administrators are afraid of being sued so they bow down to parents. Parents do abuse the system by making demands on the schools that are sometimes ridiculous. I had a parent give me a hard time because their 16 year old son wasn't sitting where he wanted to sit even though it was in compliance with his IEP. He wanted to sit next to his best friend. I separated them because of their talking. The parents graciously told me that they would allow me to leave the room the way it was for the time being.(sarcasm intended)

People do abuse the system. Not all students with IEPs required expensive alternatives to regular education but can be problematic for teachers, other students, and anyone else involved. The system needs to change.
Storm

Whitehall, PA

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#172
Aug 3, 2009
 
Hmmm:

You wrote:

You said that this child couldn't learn. What was the point of this child being in the school system? There has to be an alternate method of dealing with some areas of special ed.
...and the alternative method is what??????????

When I say he could not learn, I was referring to reading , math etc. He did learn how to walk with the physical therapy that was provided. He did learn how to put more of his food in his mouth. He did smile and the kids always came over to help him or to say hi. He was the most popular kid in the school. He even particpated in a class play. I could have explained the extent of his learning in the previous post. I apologize. Was this the best way of dealing with him-- I do not know but you appear to have the answer and I await your response. I will forward your response to the people who now have him in school and I am sure this will ease their class number.
Storm

Whitehall, PA

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#173
Aug 3, 2009
 
Hmmmm:

I take it you are a teacher. Well what do you do with the behavioral problems that do not have an IEP. We all have them. I was in many situations with disruptive students and depending on their behavior, they are eventually IEPed and sent out to other schools or facilties. However, we had many other behavior kids in the school and we had a behavior plan for them that was part of the IEP that of course was signed by the parents. So if a disrution happened, the plan was put into effect.

In the last paragraph, you talked about kids being problematic for teachers. Well this is why you are paid the money you are paid. Go to some of the Saucon Valley articles in mcall and see how negative people are towards teachers and the teaching profession. Many times, they do not understand all that is involved in teaching. As one idiot pointed out, they get paid all this money and they "stand in one place" to teach. The stupidity of that statements ranks very high to a teacher who has to deal with a student that you just described.
hmmmmm

Irvington, NJ

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#174
Aug 3, 2009
 
Storm wrote:
Hmmmm:
I take it you are a teacher. Well what do you do with the behavioral problems that do not have an IEP. We all have them. I was in many situations with disruptive students and depending on their behavior, they are eventually IEPed and sent out to other schools or facilties. However, we had many other behavior kids in the school and we had a behavior plan for them that was part of the IEP that of course was signed by the parents. So if a disrution happened, the plan was put into effect.
In the last paragraph, you talked about kids being problematic for teachers. Well this is why you are paid the money you are paid. Go to some of the Saucon Valley articles in mcall and see how negative people are towards teachers and the teaching profession. Many times, they do not understand all that is involved in teaching. As one idiot pointed out, they get paid all this money and they "stand in one place" to teach. The stupidity of that statements ranks very high to a teacher who has to deal with a student that you just described.
If regular classroom management strategies do not work, the students are referred to the VP for detentions or suspensions. If a student had an IEP, he can't be suspended for more than 10 days for the entire year. Some of these students used up their quota by the end of October. They now had no reason to obey the rules and they knew it therefore making it impossible for anyone in the class to learn anything.

I don't know what the answer is but you seem to have dealt more with elementary school children. High school is another ball game. The students such as the one you described aren't popular except in rare instances and the socialization isn't there. School is supposed to focus on academics, there are no PSSA's for life skills.

I am not a special ed teacher. I don't want to be and I shouldn't be expected to be a special ed teacher. Especially at the secondary level. I am very good in the subject that I teach. That is my background and field of study.
Storm

Whitehall, PA

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#175
Aug 3, 2009
 
Hmmm:

All I can say is the law is the law. In Pa. if kids are very disruptive we send them to our intermidiate unit classes outside of the home school. This is also true of the high school level. However, kids that disrupt the classroom and prevent normal learning from taking place need to be removed period. We have gone to hearings when parents disagreed and in alsmost every case we were able to get them placed in the outside classes.
Reality

Kingston, PA

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#176
Aug 3, 2009
 
Storm wrote:
Reality:
After writing my last post to you I went back to read some other "stuff" you wrote. I came across this:
So why can't you find out what a student with an IEP costs the district. I realize some people would be outraged, when they find out 10% of their student population is costing 30 to 40% of the budget.
So let's see if a school district has a 30,000,000 budget, you are saying that 40% of this is special education or $12,000,000. I know one thing, special education costs do add to the budget but we do not bring the children to school using limos, and we do not feed them Lobster and Fillet. I would say that I could run one unbeleiveable program with that money. It would mean that I would not have to ask parents to bring in snacks for the kids becasue I have 120 million to run the program.
Again, please state how much experience you have in the classroom or in education. I am going to take a wild guess but I have a feeling you are currently a school board memeber or a former board member. The usual percentage of special needs students is around 12% but could get as high as 15%. I remember one year I had about 75 special ed students out of 650 students and if my math is correct that is around 12%. Even if the cost of educating a regular student is $7500 times 75 is $562,000. If we said the cost of educating a special needs students would be $10,000 times the 75 kids would give you 750,000 which is 2.5% of the 30,000,000 budget. I am running these figures as estimates while I type this post, but they are close to actual numbers. I may be off a few thouands here or there.
You can close to my (occupation / position) in this, for lack of a better term. I totally disagree with your costs for these student in comparison to the normal main stream ones. I wrote a response to you, but the solicitor, felt you could figure out the district and possibly some students, if you correctly analyzed the info I already gave since you seem to have great insight on the subject. I tried rewriting it in percentages and ratios, as he recommended, but felt it is too confusing. I'll try something else and see what he says. As far as background over a quarter century in the education field, but all until recently, in the private sector and only dealing with adults. What a big difference. What ever district you deal with seems to handle it, a lot better both method wise and cost efficiency (if your numbers are close to correct) then any of them I've been exposed to.
Storm

Whitehall, PA

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#177
Aug 4, 2009
 
I made up the numbers as far as the budget goes. So let me do this again. I was responding to a person who said educating special ed. could cost up to 40%. Well 40% of a 100,000,000 budget is 40,000,000. That is not accurate, plain and simple. Special education populations range around 12%-15% of your students. We could provide one cadillac program with that kind of money. The reason special ed costs rise in district to district depends on the socio-economic levels, the administrations attitude to placing students into special education, the psycholgists testing and observation techniques, teachers who work with the students, etc. I always tried to make it as difficult as possible for the placement into special education. The cost rises to help keep the numbers down because then it becomes a cost factor. In 1991, a program was started called Instructional Support Team and its main objective was to screen kids so that when they went into special education, they were given all other techniques and strategies available to the teachers before actually placing them in special education.

Back to the orginal point. Special ed. is expensive but not to a tune of 40% and not even 30%. However, whatever it is, you must teach them and follow the strict laws that fuide special education.
hmmmmm

Jersey City, NJ

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#178
Aug 4, 2009
 
Storm wrote:
Back to the orginal point. Special ed. is expensive but not to a tune of 40% and not even 30%. However, whatever it is, you must teach them and follow the strict laws that fuide special education.
You are wrong. I live in a small district. About 10% of the students are classified. 35% of the budget goes to special ed. This includes busing, tuition to special schools, in class support teachers, private duty paras, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, special equipment, books,etc. Special ed is way over priced compared to the end result. Something needs to be revamped. Unfortunately I don't know what it is. That is not my field of study. I'm not saying that we should bring back the horrific days of Willowbrook but changes need to be made.
reader2

Bethlehem, PA

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#180
Aug 5, 2009
 
And the argument is not that they are receiving these services, but that the outcome of these services is not always significant or meaningful compared to the sacrifices that have to be made in other programs in order to pay for them.
hmmmmm wrote:
<quoted text>
You are wrong. I live in a small district. About 10% of the students are classified. 35% of the budget goes to special ed. This includes busing, tuition to special schools, in class support teachers, private duty paras, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, special equipment, books,etc. Special ed is way over priced compared to the end result. Something needs to be revamped. Unfortunately I don't know what it is. That is not my field of study. I'm not saying that we should bring back the horrific days of Willowbrook but changes need to be made.
Jack

Philadelphia, PA

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#181
Aug 5, 2009
 
reader2 wrote:
And the argument is not that they are receiving these services, but that the outcome of these services is not always significant or meaningful compared to the sacrifices that have to be made in other programs in order to pay for them.
<quoted text>
Significant and meaningful is difficult to determine. Some of these individuals will lead MORE prodcutive lives with the interventions/services that are provided. Just because somebody is unable to get a regular job and live independently doesn't mean that the money was wasted. If somebody is able to live in a group because of the services they recieved from schools or other places, it saves a ton of cash that would need to be used in a more intrusive service which would have been necessary without the service. In addition to that, the person is happier because they live a more productive life. IEPs attempt to MAXIMIZE the learning POTENTIAL of individuals with special needs. The more of the POTENTIAL that is tapped into the more productive the rest of their life is. The more productive the rest of their life is the LESS need there is for expensive placements in the future.
reader2

Bethlehem, PA

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#182
Aug 5, 2009
 
Agreed. I was referring to students who are so physically and cognitively impaired that they are functioning at the level of an infant. I'm not saying they shouldn't receive services, but some of the services they receive are questionable. I witnessed it for decades.
Jack wrote:
<quoted text>
Significant and meaningful is difficult to determine. Some of these individuals will lead MORE prodcutive lives with the interventions/services that are provided. Just because somebody is unable to get a regular job and live independently doesn't mean that the money was wasted. If somebody is able to live in a group because of the services they recieved from schools or other places, it saves a ton of cash that would need to be used in a more intrusive service which would have been necessary without the service. In addition to that, the person is happier because they live a more productive life. IEPs attempt to MAXIMIZE the learning POTENTIAL of individuals with special needs. The more of the POTENTIAL that is tapped into the more productive the rest of their life is. The more productive the rest of their life is the LESS need there is for expensive placements in the future.
Christi

United States

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#183
Jan 25, 2013
 
Reality wrote:
<quoted text>
You do realize that the state is shutting down the deaf school in scranton and they now have to go to the one in western PA. Since you can't bus a child there every day, you need to board them out there and bus them home weekly, total cost $150K to $250K per school year. The parents should have to pay the room and board, not the taxpayers
Seriously? Sounds like all of this could be remedied with a handful of ASL interpreters who make nowhere near teacher salaries. I learned alongside heating impaired students in school and was motivated to learn their language so we could socialize. It beast taking French I will never use and has come in handy since.

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