The West Hancock Community School District School Board has approved the allowable growth for overspending in special education in the district.
According to Superintendent Wayne Kronemann, the district had overspent the special education budget by $2,000 and 10 years ago, they were overspending by $300,000.
“So we worked our way down to $80,000,” he said. “Some of that was based on staffing. Younger staff was some of what it was also based on. We just started taking advantage of the Medicaid payment that was five years ago which came from the state and federal government.”
However, salaries have also increased and people are getting more experienced in the special education department, said Kronemann. He added, this year the district has overspent by $158,000.
“So it’s on its way back up,” he said.
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A couple years ago, reducing the size of the special education staff was brought before the Board, based on the number of students in the special education department, but Kronemann said the board did not take advantage of that and now he recommended to the board reducing the staff by half.
“Basically, our pay is going up and our student numbers, in special ed, are going down. So we’re not getting the special ed money, the extra money we get for special ed students,” Kronemann said.
Kronemann said the special education students get a separate certified enrollment number that comes out at the end of October. The district gets so much money per student and now the district just does not have enough special education students anymore.
The allowable growth for overspending in special education is only the right to spend the money, not actually giving the district money to spend in special education, Kronemann said.
According to Kronemann, because the district didn’t get enough special education money last year, they will now need to take it out of the general fund this time of year.