Swords/Plowshares 28 – Fear Mongering – Special Education


Opponents of the Central Sale are suggesting that Edison is sticking it to ISD 709 because of Special Education. Judy Seliga-Punyko is the leading adherent of this view. http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=11172

It is repeatedly suggested that Edison will steal away ISD 709 kids and stick ISD 709 with the costs. Judy Seliga-Punyko made this claim ad nauseam. If it is true it bears consideration but I suspect the claim is bunkum and that perhaps the DPSA schools are paying a heavy price for offering the best Special Education services in Duluth which lets ISD 709 off an expensive hook.

Here how it was explained to me but requires me to confirm.

Every child diagnosed as needing Special Ed services in the state is evaluated and his/her school draws up an IEP (Individual Education Plan). Based on how much contact time the school determines the student needs with paraprofessionals a cost is assigned to the individual student’s needs. Bear in mind that every student in our district, non special ed students included, receives $10,000 General Education dollars. Costs for Special Ed students are over and above this $10,000. To receive these costs all Districts submit IEP claims to the Minnesota Dept. of Education.

Special ed costs, even those mandated by Federal law, are not fully reimbursed to school districts. In Minnesota only a portion of the required Special Ed spending is sent to the Districts. In ISD 709’s case it seems to be in the neighborhood of a 65% reimbursement. Each Special Ed student will demand varying amounts of help depending on the needs. It could be an annual expense of 5, 10 or even 20 thousand dollars Let’s assume for simplicity that the special ed costs, over the original $10,000 General Ed aid, is an additional $10,000.

Duluth sends in its student’s IEP to Minnesota and Minnesota gives back 65% of the cost to ISD 709 or $6,500. That gives ISD 709 a total of $16,500 in state funds to educate this student leaving us to dig out the additional $3,500 from local property tax levies.

Here’s how the DPSA schools fares when this ISD 709 student transfers to DPSA.

The cost to DPSA is still roughly $10,000 for General Education. However, like ISD 709 DPSA only gets an additional an $6,500 from the state to Educate the student. Suddenly, however, it becomes DPSA’s problem to dig into its funds to pay the $3,500 the State shorts them. Its now their problem. Meanwhile ISD 709 is relieved of the $3,500 special ed cost. GO 709!

There is another complication involving a 90%/10% split for costs of students between ISD 709 and any a Charter Schools but that pails in comparison. If what I outlined above is accurate (and it may not be) somehow ISD 709 only has to pay 90% of the DPSA’s cost of special education. They have to bite the bullet and pay the 10% cost. I don’t know the financial mechanics but it strikes me that DPSA is taking another hit by taking on our Special Ed kids.

Again I have to check this explanation for accuracy but if I’m right ISD 709 has nothing to lose in terms of selling Central to Edison based on Special Education considerations