School Board Foresees $41.6M in Savings as It Reinforces Social and Emotional Health Measures

In the recent Edgewater School Board meeting, a series of significant developments were revealed, encompassing projected cost savings, enrichment of special education programs, and enhancements to the district’s social and emotional health initiatives.

Joe Tratullo, the Director of Special Services, presented a potentially groundbreaking financial analysis of the special education program, indicating potential savings of $41,621,695.10 for the district over three years. This saving could be realized by transitioning to providing these services in-house, instead of sending students to out-of-district schools. He cautioned that these figures were deliberately overestimated to avoid misleading the board, but even with this qualification, the figures represented a significant potential benefit to the district’s budget.

An integral part of this shift is the adaptation of the special education program to cater to the individual needs of each child, moving away from pre-set programs. Tratullo discussed the expansion of the autism program and the introduction of a multi-sensory approach to reading into the curriculum, promising a full continuum of services for special education.

In other financial discussions, the board highlighted efforts to accurately track the cost associated with each student, including specifics like supplies and services. The goal is to optimize the allocation of resources for the benefit of everyone involved, a move described as “good for everyone.”

Separately, the board is also establishing a threat assessment team, school improvement panel, and a school culture team. These initiatives are aimed at fortifying the social and emotional health of students. Additionally, the district received a score of 71 on the HID grades, a measure focused on handling harassment and bullying situations, staff training, and procedural accuracy, which is a point above the maximum score.

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