Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Students' Needs Drives Rising Costs of Out-of-District Placements

EDITOR'S NOTE: A seat in a classroom isn't enough for some students, who need extra help to reach their potential. This year, Stamford Public Schools in Connecticut expects to spend $24 million on special education. For a district that relies primarily on taxpayers for funding, it's a fine line to walk, as these children's parents -- who must negotiate a learning curve unique to special education and its legal framework -- sometimes feel their children's needs aren't being fully met.
The cost of sending the neediest outside the district has risen to a net cost of $7 million this year. Meanwhile, more children are sharing assistants, and next year the district may have to find room for another classroom of special needs preschoolers.

STAMFORD, CT. -- At the end of his first week at The Foundation School in Milford, Myles Scott, 18, was non-committal about the experience, assessing it simply as "good" before heading to the kitchen to assemble a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and wrestle with his leggy, black-and-white dog, Herbie.
Last June, Scott walked in Westhill High School's graduation, but he did not receive a diploma. By now, many of his peers have started college, however, because of his autistic tendencies, a possible language processing disorder and other difficulties, Scott is entitled to special education services for nearly three more years, until he reaches 21.
"I understand I am a learning-disabled kid -- young man -- but I need to learn more of the basics to go on my own," Scott said.

No comments:

Post a Comment