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Boardman school board hears about special-education services

Published: Tue, October 26, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.




Special education is a service, not a place, Jack Zocolo, special-education coordinator for the school district told members of the board of education.

“The services that we provide students could happen anywhere,” he said in a report at Monday’s meeting. “It doesn’t have to be in a resource room.”

State law requires the district to provide special education for those age 3 and older who need the service.

The preschool program in Boardman serves 57 children with disabilities. Though some state funding is provided, last year the district paid $171,417 in excess costs.

“So our preschool program is a great program, but it’s very expensive,” Zocolo said.

Zocolo also shared how the numbers of students in the special-education program have changed. About 270 students were receiving special-education services fifteen years ago. Currently, about 750 students do.

Some of the biggest increases are in the areas of other health-impaired students, which includes attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder, and emotional behaviorally disabled students. The number of health-impaired students went from seven in 1993 to 78 now.

The district contracts out various services that cannot be provided in Boardman.

Approximately 100 students attend schools outside the district for programs not provided in Boardman.

“They are our kids,” he said. “They just attend elsewhere.”

Also, 22 students from the district attend other schools through the Autism Scholarship Program. The cost for each, after state funding, is $14,140.

In 1995, after state aid was applied, the district paid about $65,000 to contractors for services. This year’s estimate is approximately $1,025,000.

The Ohio Department of Education gave the district a perfect performance score, for compliance and results, Zocolo said.

The district is working to reduce the costs associated with sending students to other areas, said Frank Lazzeri, superintendent.


1Summerliving(2 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

It is disappointing that Mr. Zocolo only spoke about the costly expense of special education. Thousands of dollars in government money is allocated to schools for services. Parents also often pay for services for their children.He NEVER shared that these "costly services" help student to become responsible adults with jobs and families. I think our children are worth the expense.

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2mom2boys(11 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Exactly! In 1974, the first special education mandates were passed (PL 94-142) The first of many "Education of the Handicapped" laws. Why is it so surprising that over the course of 30+ years more children would be found to be in need of services when their needs - for centuries - were ignored. Part of government's responsibility is to meet the needs of the people, and when there are members of the population that need services beyond the "normal", why is it so unpopular to do the right thing? We service our elderly with social security and medicare, because it's the right thing to do, is it not right to service our disabled without complaint? Are the school districts and the state of Ohio speaking out rationally if they say, "the goal is to reduce the number of students with diabilities from 20% to 15%." Is ignoring their needs, the way this country did 50 years ago, the way to go? Are we not evolving toward the positive? This increase in numbers of disabled students in Boardman, is it not commensurate with an overall increase in population over the last 30 years due to migration from Youngstown City to the suburban areas? If you have more overall pupils, will you not, by extension, have more disabled? As the national rise in Autism spectum diagnoses explodes, does it not make sense that more of those kiddos will be appearing in school?? Kids are kids, love them and serve them - period.

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