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Marblehead, MA: District deficit over $600K due to SPED outplacements; behavioral issues

Dec 12, 2018, Danvers, MA, Wicked Local Marblehead: Marblehead School Committee still grappling with deficit http://marblehead.wickedlocal.com/news/20181212/marblehead-school-committee-still-grappling-with-deficit …Time is winding down for the School Committee to figure out how it will close a $643,780 gap in its budget caused by the rising costs of Special Education out-placement tuitions. “This is an FY19 current issue,” said School Committee member Jennifer Schaeffner. “It needs to be resolved. We need to have a solution before we can look at developing a [budget] proposal for FY20.”…. Along with tuition out expenses, transportation for students heading to both in and out of district programs has also gone up 40 percent. “Last year, it was $410,465; this year it’s $540,000,” Maniaci said. “It’s a pretty major jump.”… Schaeffner also pointed out the number of students on individual education plans (IEPs) and those placed in out of district programs also rose significantly. According to Manicai’s historical data, in 2016/17, there were 621 students on IEPs and 23 placed out of district. The numbers rose slightly for the 2017/18 school year with 629 students on IEPs and 28 tuitioned out, but they soared for the 2018/19 school year to 665 students on IEPs and 42 placed out of district. Maniaci said the increase is due to a recent move-in coupled with an increase in the number of students with behavioral issues. “If a principal decides a student is a danger to the school and can’t stay ... we still have to educate that student,” she said. … Although getting a handle on special education expenses has been a struggle, it’s not been one fought in a vacuum. Manicai said she has been keeping the town Finance Committee and other officials apprised of the situation. …

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