Westside discusses future of Special Education program - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Westside discusses future of Special Education program

(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -

A school board discussed the future of the special education program at Westside on Monday.

After the Craighead County Special Education Cooperation dissolved, it left the Westside School District seeking action.

According to Westside Superintendent Scott Gauntt, the Riverside School District recently pulled out of the co-op to utilize other means for the specialized services.

“Number of years ago is what a cooperative of most of the schools in Craighead County,” Gauntt said. “One by one they started dropping off and here recently within the last two years, it’s been Riverside and Westside. Early this spring, Riverside decided to pull out and that put us in a situation where we need to make decisions.”

Gauntt said Tuesday that the district decided to hire three positions for the special education program, which would replace the cooperative. The Co-Op employees are eligible to apply for the jobs. 

The jobs are LEA supervisor, an educational psychology tester, and a secretary.

However, the cost would be at a high cost. He said the two districts have shared the cost of the three co-op employees.  Westside has been paying 62% and Riverside, the remaining 38%

Gauntt said if they were to rehire those people, the district would be responsible for 100% of the pay, which he said could be expensive.

The school board explored several options Monday night.

“ I will supply them with three options, I will supply them with the number of kids that will be serviced and then, at what cost,” Gauntt said. “That's so that we can see what's going on. Are we getting what we need? Is there another option that we can utilize that would give us the same services but cost us less money? We are trying to be prudent with the taxpayers' money.

The supervisor role oversees the entire special education program and the psyche tester determines if a child needs the special education services.

Gauntt said this has not put special education students in a bind for the remainder of the school year.

Those employees are under contract through June.

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