Greenwich, CT: SPED costs have "skyrocketed";almost $1M over budget

Feb 3, 2018, Old Greenwich, CT, Greenwich Time: Greenwich special education over budget Greenwich Public Schools special education costs have skyrocketed this year, and are nearly $1 million over budget, according to district financial reports, due to numerous settlements and tuition for student placements at institutions outside the district. The school district budgeted $22.5 million for special education costs this academic year, or 14.5 percent of its $153 million 2017-18 operating budget. That amount is already almost $2 million more than what was spent on special education in 2016-17, according to district budget documents.... School officials say they don’t yet know how they will find an extra $1 million this year; some of the money may have to be diverted from other parts of the budget.... Board member Peter Sherr called it a “budget forecast issue” and said, “Things only seems to be getting worse.”... This academic year, Greenwich Public Schools is spending $3.84 million to place 36 special education students in private and sometimes residential institutions. Four of those students moved to Greenwich this year with individualized education plans (IEPs) developed by other districts that required them to be educated at private schools, causing part of that $1 million spike…. Stamford Public Schools’ special education costs have also been rising over the past three years, said Mike Meyer, executive director of Support Services and Special Programs for the district. Stamford, which has an enrollment of about 16,000 students, almost twice the size of Greenwich, spent $69.8 million on special education in 2016-17 — three times as much as Greenwich. The city projects spending about $17 million on out-of-district tuition and having 66 settlements, an average number for Stamford, Meyer said. … The costs of services can also differ greatly for each student, ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars….