The Shelbyville School Board recently heard an update on Special Education from the new Special Education Coordinator, former superintendent Denise Bence.
For the benefit off new members and for a evaluation of where the district is at, Bence gave a comprehensive report.
She let the board now that since 1969, federal law requires that students with disabilities are provided with a Free Appropriate Public Education, tailored for their individual needs.
Bence reported that those requirements involve getting professionals to cover the needs of the students, but also involves parents, laws to govern the details of the Individual Education Program (IEP), and funding grants.
“We have to predict the future of how to get those goals achieved every year,” Bence said.
She informed the board of the 5 pillars of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). #1-Appropriate Evaluation, #2 Individualized Education Program, Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), #4 Parent Participation, #5 Procedural Safeguards.
“There are a lot of regulations and possible litigations,” Bence said. “Parents have to be equal members. Some parents come into it thinking they have to fight to get their kid’s rights. They expect that we won’t do our job. Sometimes it takes years for them to see that we are trying to do what we can for their child. There has to be a consensus with parents.”
Bence gave a report of what Shelbyville is doing compared others around the state. Of EIASE’s 28 District Average, 16.58% of district students are in special ed. he State average is 14.1%. Shelbyville’s percentage is under that 12.49%.
Superintendent Shane Schuricht was glad to see that perecentage.
‘That means we are identifying the students that need an IEP, but we don’t over-identify,” Schuricht said. “We want the least restrictive environments for the students.”
Shelbyville has 147 students in the district that are in special ed. They range from one with a physical impairment, 5 with vision or hearing issues, 13 with emotional issues, 13 with speech and language issues. Seven have autism, 17 have other health impairments.
The biggest number is learning disabilities (68). They account for 5.6% of the total number of students in the district. The national average is 10%, according to Bence.
Shelbyville provides for two students in a residential facility and 11 students go to Mattoon for EIASE, including TLC (students with emotional disabilities).
Some students are in a regular general education class with co-teaching, some are resource students (88) that are “pulled out” of the regular classroom for specialized instruction. Others are in a self-contained Special Education classroom (24).
The district has 23 teachers, counselors and aides that are employed to meet the special education needs.
In addition to the special education report, the board conducted other business.
The 2109 audit was delayed until November’s meeting. Shelbyville receives over $750,000 in federal aid so it requires a Single Audit, which is more intensive. According to Superintendent Schuricht, the Regional Office of Education commented that there were several districts whose audits that would be delayed.
The district is required to re-evaluated their response to bullying, intimidation, and harassment every two years. They posted the first reading of their policy. Superintendent Schuricht said there were no changes.
The Worker’s Compensation Insurance agreement expires December 31. Schuricht said they are looking at a rate increase. He asked to shop around and put out bids.
He suggested getting a 6 month policy and then renewing it along with other insurance to run concurrent with fiscal year instead of the calendar year. Board member Jake Hankins, who is in the insurance business was consulted and agreed with that plan.
The board heard about the the threat assessment (see “Threat Assessment at Shelbyville District” story on Page 1). The principals gave their reports.
Volunteer unpaid coaches were hired during executive session. For high school wrestling, Tadd Brachbill , Wyatt Fox, and Zach Stirrett were hired. For Junir Wrestling, Caleb Duckett was hired. For high school girls basketball, Matt Beyers was hired. For high school boys basketball, Brennan Crose was hired. For 8th grade boys basketball, Tim McElroy was hired.
Long-time school bus driver Terri Gordon submitted her resignation and Jodi Fleshner was hired as a bus driver.