Texas Education

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Getting too expensive to educate those in the Alternative Education Programs

Posted by Texas Education on July 14, 2008

Humble ISD approves contract for expelled students

Looks like school districts are trying to find creative ways to “fund” the students who don’t make it in the general population. It’s getting expensive to house these students. To educate and provide instructional and counseling services for those who have been expelled. School districts are required by law to educate students, but what if they really don’t want an education? They have a difficult time conforming to the school rules? And they end up at “high point,” for Humble ISD students? Recently posted in the Kingwood/Humble Chronicle:

Dave Martin, board president, brought attention to the high cost of educating children at Highpoint.

“I’ve done the math,” said Martin. “It’s about $17,300 for every child we send there each year.”

Sconzo explained that with the growth of the district, the number of students requiring alternative education will also increase.

“Bear in mind that it’s expensive,” said Sconzo. “With student growth, there is a growing demand on everything we do, including discipline.”

Sconzo said the district’s responsibility is to provide the same educational opportunities for every school age child. He asked the board to explore the possibility of creating a district discipline program similar to the one at Highpoint.

“The program would be something we’d design” said Sconzo, “I’d like to develop our own (HISD) Highpoint. I think it would be at least as effective if not more effective for less than $17,000 per student.

“Our real obligation is to remove (expelled) students from the campus and to remove disruption from the learning environment. Right now, our only alternative is Highpoint.”

You have to give them credit for trying to come up with a solution to this expensive dilemma.

Also under scrutiny is HISD’s alternative education plans, story here.

HISD urged to reconsider education deal

Not only is it expensive, but they are also having problems with the source they are using.

The Houston school board must decide next month whether to continue working with the private company that runs the district’s two schools for students with serious discipline problems.

[…]

The multimillion dollar decision comes at a time when Community Education Partners is suing one of its biggest critics in Houston and is on the other side of a lawsuit in Atlanta.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing CEP and the Atlanta school district, alleging the alternative school there is “a warehouse for children of color.”

[…]

Since 1997, when HISD began outsourcing its disciplinary education program, it has paid CEP about $158 million, according to data from the district. That includes $18 million last school year.

I know I’ve been touting how the districts need more money, but sometimes we uncover expenses that can be used better, like in preemptive action to then spend less later.

Seems to me, if the districts would put more money into smaller classrooms and programs that help teachers, more aids to help with special ed students, give teachers more resources (technology) to keep the students interested, they would save money in the long run. But, maybe that’s just me. Putting more students in a classroom is only going to burden the already over TAKs-ed teachers, I’ve always been against that idea. Students need more one-on-one, if we expect them to “get it.” Making a teacher teach 30-35 (secondary) 20-25 (elementary) and totaling 150-180 class load, how on earth do they expect teachers to do an exemplary job? I’ll step down from my soap box now before I get hurt.

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