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Attleboro, MA: 'Growth of social/emotional issues and increased special needs'; enrollment declines

Mar 19, 2018, Attleboro (MA) Sun Chronicle: As enrollment declines, Norton selectmen consider school closure http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/as-enrollment-declines-norton-selectmen-consider-school-closure/article_3bd2d04f-bdbb-515b-806c-85ca57df4e98.html Another tight budget for the next fiscal year and declining school enrollment have selectmen tossing around the idea of looking into closing one of the town’s three elementary schools and using it for town hall and a senior center. … Student population is going to continue going down.”… “I’m not sure closing a building is going to do anything but increase special education and transportation costs and class sizes,” Baeta said. But he said if the system loses another 250 children, it would likely mean closing a school. It was mentioned class sizes at Nourse School already number about 26 students. “These are really young children. We shouldn’t compromise their well-being” for nominal cost savings, school committee member Carolyn Gallagher said. “I’m very concerned with developmental needs of children and the growth of social and emotional issues and increased special needs. All that is clearly different than in 2002.” … School officials emphasized special education and health insurance costs continue to spike as do charter school student charges. While the school district has 29 fewer teachers than several years ago, the special education staff has had to increase by 17, Baeta said. …