Special Educational Come Back

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Introduction

Paterson School District’s educational focus is to provide learning opportunities for students, help them grow and succeed. Therefore, every effort made to achieve this goal is on the basis of the individual needs of the students in the Special education department (Welcome to Paterson School, n.d.). The decision to bring back to continue their placement within the district must take account of the size of the budget that will cater for these students. The number of these students, their categories in terms of, for instance, financial needs, physical fitness and level of study will determine this size of the budget and the programs that will need to be created for them. The admission of these students back to the district for placement will also require that employment opportunities be created for them as soon as they graduate or complete their studies. The main aim of this paper is to review the revenue of Paterson School District and the spending for special education students as well as the programs that will need to be in place for them as they come back to the district to continue with their placement.

Revenues and Spending

There are approximately 7000 students in outside Paterson School District for placement among which there are about 14 % who are disabled. One of the major issues that have occupied the district over the last two decades is the rising cost of meeting services related to special education. The cost of students in special education is approximately twice compared to that of the general education students. The main revenue for supporting special education is government funding. However, this is far below the initial funding budget amount of 40 % of the total cost contained in the legislation that is establishing the services’ legal requirement. As a result, the local government and the state have managed to provide the largest portion of the special education funding for the project of bringing back the students to the district for placement, prior to temporary ARRA stimulus funding.

The difficult of controlling the costs of special education may compound these financial trends. As such, there needs to be a legislative establishment that will put in place the necessary monitoring strategies to ensure proper management of the funds. For instance, there may be internal control systems with an independently created budget analyst in charge of special education program, a new reviewing and approving method for staff positions to be introduced and also improved processes for budget monitoring and information for financial management. These measures will enable Paterson district School District to better plan and hence manage the anticipated rise in the costs of the special education student influx.

Programs for Placement Students

Public-school districts have an obligation to provide certain services to special education students. For an efficient management of the noble endeavor of raising the students learning within Paterson School District, various assessment strategies are used for the diagnosis of the needs, instructional strategies needs to be planned and later, the success of each student needs will have to be documented (Welcome to Paterson School, n.d.). However, only students determined to be eligible will be given certain special education related services apart from those which are mandatory to all students who come back for placement. An evaluation will be done by an evaluation team as well as the parents if any to determine eligibility and after approval by the district and its willingness to provide the placement services to the student, the parents will be required to provide a written consent for the placement. The Individualized Education Programs will then consider the programs, location and the cost of placing the student (Special Education and Related Services for Eligible Students, 2010).

The students are placed in various environments that will best suit their learning processes depending on their specific disability. One of the qualities of such environment is that it needs to be least restrictive so that it meets the student’s academic, physical, behavioral and life skills needs. A new Continuum of Placement Options may be initiated which may be based on the many recommendations that may have emerged from previous stakeholders’ review of services required by special education students and staff. A quick suggestion is the establishment of self-contained special classes in all geographical areas in the city which can accommodate all grade levels at a school. This is to avoid the movement of students to new schools in the event they changed grades. Extra and types of classrooms may also be established by the Special Education department with more clear criteria for placement.

Categories of Students

The new Continuum of Placement Options will need to consider the following expected major categories of students in outside placement.

  • Focus Class : Academic needs in Intensive Skills Center
  • Focus Class : Functional needs in Intensive Skills Center
  • Focus Class : Fragile needs in Behavior Classroom
  • Focus Class : Behavior Classroom with no specific needs
  • Focus Class : Academic needs in Communication Behavior Classroom
  • Focus Class :Functional needs in Communication Behavior Classroom
  • Special School: Community Transition Program (age 18-21)
  • Special School: Pioneer Special School Programs
  • Special Education Services in General Education which are to be provided in either regular classes or in a Learning Center, Charter Schools or Alternative Schools  (Opportunities to Better Manage the Costs of Special Education, 2011).

Comparative Costs of Education of the Students inside and Outside the District

Table: Summary of comparative costs of placement inside and outside Paterson School District

Cost criteria

             Inside

            Outside

Tuition

    $  2,990

      $   3,440

Accommodation

    $  1,550

       $   2,500

Medical Insurance

    $   700

      $     1,225

Food

    $   2,500

      $     3,000

Transport

   $   1,556

    $     2,070

Others

     $  435         

       $  2,380  

Total costs

   $8,831

      $11,175

       

 

Conclusion

Paterson School District is taking a noble yet challenging of providing a cheaper, more beneficial and convenient endeavor. There are quite a good number of students at placement outside the district approximated to be 14% and most of them are disabled. Their needs can classify into eight classes according to the new Continuum of Placement Options which enables the students to be placed in different environments for best learning process and convenience. The government is the main source of revenue for both general and special education although the local government is contributing more in this project as well as ARRA Stimulus funding is also helping. The expenditure is expected to rise steadily and hence there is need for strategies to ensure proper management of funds.

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