Ridgefield, CT: Deficit due to unplanned out-of-district placements for special education students

Jan 10, 2018, Norwalk (CT) News Times: Ridgefield schools may need special appropriation to close deficit Despite a months-long spending freeze, the Board of Education likely will need to ask for a special appropriation to cover a year-end deficit projected to reach $1.3 million. … That deficit was caused largely by a summer enrollment bump that required the hiring of three extra teachers for $216,000, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unexpected special education costs, she said. But recent projections she shared with the board this week show that even more special education costs, urgent weather-related spending and increased electricity rates likely mean the freeze will not close the gap. … The largest portion of the $1.3 million deficit was caused by unplanned out-of-district placements for special education students, which Baldwin estimated will cost an additional $525,000. When she first announced the likely deficit, Baldwin said four students with special needs had moved to Ridgefield over the summer with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) already in place at private institutions. By law, the district was required to assume the cost of implementing their plans. Since then, three more students already placed in state-approved special education facilities have moved to the district. The district also recently had to hire three nurses to assist “medically fragile children,” which has put the Professional Services over budget by $90,000.