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District paid too much for Special Ed last year

Student incorrectly placed

January 27, 2010
MONROE—Voters were given incorrect information last year so that the town paid far more than necessary to send a child to a residential facility.

Last year then Superintendent/Principal Karen Stewart asked voters to approve an expenditure of $250,000 to send one student to a special, "restrictive, residential facility," according to a letter sent out to Monroe residents. This year, Tom Maguire, the current superintendent/principal, examined the child's situation and discovered the residential facility was an unnecessary expense, as it was not needed for the student. The child had been moved out of a regular classroom into the residential facility, he said.

According to the letter, Maguire saved the district $71,000 for this school year and $230,000 for next year.

"I did a thorough review of his IEP [Individual Education Plan] and found the child didn't belong in the facility," Maguire said. The facility concurred with his assessment, Maguire said.

Due to confidentiality, Maguire could not say what facility it was or anything about the child. The child is now in a non-residential program, he said.

Because the residential program was not in keeping with the student's IEP, the town is not eligible for reimbursement through the State's Special Education Catastrophic Aid Fund, officials noted. This will leave the district with a shortfall of $88,262.

Board members had consulted with counsel as to what action might be taken against Stewart, but no decision has been made whether to do that, Maguire said. Board Chair Karl Johnson was out of town Monday and other board members could not be reached.

Klumb Environmenta;
Varney Smith
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