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News :: Connection Center to aid VS graduates with mental disabilities
· 10:59am January 14th, 2013
A new 5th Year program for Vinton-Shellsburg High School graduates with mental disabilities is on track to begin in the fall of 2013.
During today's School Board meeting, the members will hear an update on, and a request for approval of, the Connections Center.
The one-year program will serve VS graduates who have mental disabilities and unmet special education needs. The Center will be located at the VS Middle School complex, but students will have a separate entrance to their facility. Participants will receive assistance with functional academics, daily living, grocery store shopping, community training, social skills, fitness and recreation.
Superintendent Mary Jo Hainstock estimates that the program will serve five students in its first year, and that state/AEA funding will cover the costs.
"We anticipate serving five students who all qualify for special education services," said the Superintendent. "Based on their needs, they are assigned a weighting (by the AEA /state) and then we receive funding based on the weighting. For example, a Level I student generates about $10,000 and a Level 3 student generates about $20,000. The revenue will be based on the five participants."
The potential costs include one teacher and one associate plus some other expenses such as remodeling space, technology, and transportation. The remodeling would be covered through the district's general fund. The personnel and transportation costs would be covered as a special education expense, which is offset by the special education revenue.
"We anticipate the program will be break-even," said Hainstock, referring to total costs and funding sources.
"Currently, we are serving students who qualify in programs outside the district," said Hainstock. "Some of them are very, very expensive plus we have transportation costs to get them to the Cedar Rapids area. The other schools are telling us they are not going to accept any students from outside their own districts so we won’t be able to continue doing what we are doing. And the special education laws require that the students be served."
The board will act on the request for approval during today's meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. in the Tilford media center.
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