Mitchell, SD: More kids with learning disabilities

July 8, 2017 Mitchell (SD) Daily Republic: Mitchell, state see increase in special education students There are more students than ever requiring special education in the Mitchell School District. This year, the Mitchell School District had 449 special education students enrolled, which is an increase of 39 students from 2015-16. The district had 377 in the 2014-15 school year.

With growth comes the need for additional funding and finding resources for students with special needs, hurdles the Mitchell School District is already looking to overcome. … "That's when we can no longer meet that student's individual needs. It might be a student with significant behavior challenges, or students that reach 18," Christensen said.

Students who are 18 years old and advance beyond high school can go into an adult service placement, such as Mitchell-based LifeQuest, which is also considered out-of-district, she said. The district is required to pay tuition to those agencies. … The highest number of students had a specific learning disability at 6,846, while the second highest was a speech and language disorder with 4,293 students. The district with the most students requiring special needs was Sioux Falls with 3,788 students. And Culhane said there won't be enough money to fund all requests from school districts in South Dakota,… But as to why needs are greater, Christensen said she's not sure, but added it's reflective of communities. "It's kind of a community," she said. "Community needs are greater, student needs are greater." Christensen also attributes the increase in more early intervention programs, adding that more preschool educators are recognizing students who may be struggling. There's also more physician referrals. ...