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W. Burlington, IA: "Jump" SPED costs; "increase of $35,000 for out-of-district students 2017-2018"

Oct 16, 2018, Burlington (IA) Hawk Eye: West Burlington sees jump in special needs costs http://www.thehawkeye.com/news/20181016/west-burlington-sees-jump-in-special-needs-costs The West Burlington School Board Monday approved an allowable growth application of $224,966 for the district’s 2017-18 school year special education deficit. The application now will go to the School Budget Review Committee for approval. Approval of the application by the committee will allow the district to spend that money on special education costs. The district will be able to pay that amount either through its cash reserve or by increasing property taxes when the board certifies the district’s budget in April. The West Burlington School District’s special education deficits have increased drastically during the past three years. The 2015-16 school year deficit was $16,000, and the deficit for the 2016-17 school year was $138,607. “Our special education expenditures are (individual education plan)-driven,” Superintendent David Schmitt said, explaining the district has little control over the cost. “It’s not one factor that’s (causing the increase), and that’s the scary part about this.” He and board president Andy Crowner reviewed trends over the past three years to try to determine what could be driving the increase and found several contributors. Among them was a $100,000 increase in total expenditures (including a $93,000 increase salaries and benefits) between fiscal years 2017 and 2018; a decrease of $35,000 between fiscal years 2016 and 2017; a $20,000 decrease in Medicaid reimbursements between fiscal years 2017 and 2018; and an increase of $35,000 for out-of-district students between 2017 and 2018. Schmitt also said revenues between fiscal years 2017 and 2018 grew by $80,000, but a teaching and associate position were added to meet those needs. The teaching position was eliminated for this year…