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***Brainerd, MN: 22% of students receive SPED services; supt. expects things to get worse

Feb 13, 2020, Brainerd (MN) Dispatch: Number of special ed students in Brainerd outpace state average Brainerd Public Schools continues to be above the state average in terms of students receiving special education services. Every December, the Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System reports special education child counts to the Minnesota Department of Education. In Brainerd, 1,598 students — or 22% — received some sort of special education services in 2019. That includes students who are enrolled solely in special education classes and those who may take only one or two a day. This rate continues to be higher than the state of Minnesota, which reported 16% of students receive services. Brainerd stayed consistent with 22% of students reported to receive special education services in 2018 as well. The district percentage has increased over the last five years, though, from 18.6% in 2015. The state average increased from 14.4% in 2015. ... In Brainerd, students primarily fall into one of the following disability categories: speech/language, learning disability, emotional/behavioral, other health disabled, autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay. The highest number of students — 360 — are considered to have learning disabilities, with the next highest category being developmental delay at 318, followed by autism spectrum disorder at 237. The developmental delay category had the highest increase from 2015 at 43%. Anderson said that jump is due to a couple factors, including earlier detections of the disability and more referrals from doctors. Superintendent Laine Larson said she expects to see more increases in that category in the coming years as well, so the district will keep that in mind moving forward. …

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