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Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Losing Students — Back To School Districts

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – As school districts around the country struggle with ways to close budget gaps, administrators are finding any way possible to save money.

Here in the Delaware Valley, the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit serves physically and emotionally needy students for 22 school disticts in the county.  The districts pay for those services and for transporting the students to and from the facility.

But now, some school districts are deciding to “mainstream” more students rather than paying the expense of the specialized education.

Dr. Richard Balukas, director of special education in the Abington School District, says bringing students back into the classsroom frees up money that can be allocated to other budgetary necessities.

“We’ve been able to realize a cost savings, but Abington, which I can speak for, has turned much of that cost savings into programs,” he says.

He’s quick to add that the students are benefitting from inclusion and parents are pleased with the results, even though it can be a real challenge for teachers handling the students’ special needs.

Reported by Lynne Adkins, KYW Newsradio 1060

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One Comment

  1. Rebecca says:

    This is a terrible idea. My child suffers from severe hearing loss in both ears and Montco’s IU provides us with a wonderful hearing therapist who meets with her at her school every week. This person is specially trained to treat deaf children and as such, cannot possibly be replaced by just a teacher. The services are billed through my health insurance. A few years ago, in a cost cutting effort they cut back our services with the MCIU and even suggested that our therapist “teach” her methods to my child’s teacher. Needless to say, I was upset. Parents need to advocate more for their special needs children and stop allowing school officials to bully them in to something they are not comfortble with. If your child is on an IEP, you have the right to challenge the school’s decisions and request a hearing. Schools seem to be obsessed with standardized test scores and ranking. How well do they expect to rank when children are not receving the assistance they need to succeed? I feel bad for the children who are no longer benefiting from the valuable MCIU resources.

  2. Stephanie Patterson says:

    Now, that’s really intelligent – balance the budgets on the backs of students with special needs. Add the extra burden to the already overworked teachers, especially those who are NOT trained as special ed teachers. Who gets the added attention, and whom do teachers have to ignore? How many special ed children are going to end up as discipline problems when there is no need – just to save over-paid administrators some money? Remember when schools were ALL ABOUT THE CHILD?

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