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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

School Budget May Be Increased

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Westport Board of Education Vice Chairman Mark Mathias said tonight he plans to ask to add $100,000 to the proposed 2006-07 school budget to cover a study examining the district’s compliance with special education laws.

The school board will vote next Monday on the proposed $82.9 million 2006-07 school budget, which is a 5.4 percent increase.

Mathias said he plans to make a motion to add $100,000 to cover the costs of a study on special education after learning of the Greenwich School District’s special education study.

The review produced a 200-page report, which he received today, about how to improve Greenwich’s special education processes, he said.

Mathias said he is not sure how much the study would cost, but he guessed around $70,000 to $75,000, but he does not know if that would include additional expenses for the firm.

“I don’t want us to have to take from elsewhere in the budget, so we should put the money in to cover it,” he said.

Board Chairwoman Mary Parmelee said the board should not vote on the proposal tonight because she had not read the Greenwich report yet and two board members were not present.

“If we vote tonight, I can say I won’t vote for it,” she said.

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said he has been looking for someone to do a compliance review on the district’s special education program, which Mathias has been a proponent of, since last fall.

To varying degrees, he said, he has not found someone to do a compliance review.

“Every avenue I went down, I ended up getting blocked,” he said.

Jack Klinge, RTM District 7, however, warned the board not to jump into a study so quickly with a survey of special education parents to be completed by April.

“Don’t do (the study) if you don’t intend to implement the recommendations,” he said. “I think it’s premature to do it.”

Landon said the survey may bring up compliance issues that a separate study would uncover.

There could be questions included on the survey, he said, about how well the district complies with laws.

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Posted 01/31/06 at 04:30 AM  Permalink



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