The public education system is solely interested in the tuition funds that our small, state-approved independent school receives from the local supervisory union.
Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union is one of the larger ones selected among the 10. The aim is to find ways to help all schools save money while delivering quality care.
The proposed State Board of Education rules for independent schools make many worse off without making anyone better off.
While I don’t mind being labeled as the “foremost defender” of public education, John McClaughry insists on giving me full personal credit for what is a state school board position.
For years, indeed decades, Vermont’s public school establishment has regularly found ways to put pressure on the non-sectarian independent schools that receive tuition for pupils from the 90 “tuition towns.” Why?
Private schools would have to start accepting all types of special education students if they want to receive tuition dollars from the state education fund. A group representing independent schools is questioning the legality of the plan.
Independent schools are unable to serve students with learning disabilities unless the supervisory union or the district recommends that particular school.
Head of School Michael Livingston said the move is meant to remove a barrier from prospective students who were deterred by the prospect of filling out a lengthy application without a guarantee of admission.
The pilot project was the only point of contention on the special education bill, which passed the Senate and House on Friday. The program will change the delivery of special education in supervisory unions that volunteer to participate.
Vermont has the highest in the nation, per-capita rate of students who receive special education services because of emotional disturbance.
A Boston consulting firm and its former clients in Vermont say its approach can yield better student achievement for less money. The firm says it has worked with more than 100 school districts in 35 states.
The bill would make one funding change now and set in motion further steps meant to improve the delivery of services and bring savings.
If school district were to be required to contribute more local dollars, it would spur innovation and efficiencies that would lead to better programing for students.
The pressure is on to repeal, delay or tweak a school spending cap that local communities say is too onerous. Lawmakers are under pressure to change the threshold as soon as possible so that schools can prepare budgets for Town Meeting Day.