ESY enrollment down 10 percent from last year
After sifting through documents and a "fair amount of work," Superintendent Stephen Falcone, at the Tuesday, July 30, Board of Education meeting, presented the enrollment for Extended School Year services, and the numbers, as expected, were down.
Some special education children are eligible for Extended School Year services, which is determined as part of the Individualized Education Plan. Students who may potentially regress and lose critical skills during the extended breaks are often times eligible for ESY.
The total number of students enrolled in special education as of July 1, 2012, was 627 students -- 331, or 53 percent, were eligible for ESY, according to Falcone. Of the 331, only 265, or 42 percent of all special education students, enrolled.
The case wasn't the same in 2013, however. Parents of special education students have said the decrease in enrollment was done as part of the flawed systematic policies that were implemented at the start of the 2012-13 school year by Deirdre Osypuk, director of special services. She has since been placed on paid administrative leave.
On July 1, 2013, according to Falcone's report, 582 children were identified as needing special education. Of those, 216, or 37 percent, were considered eligible for ESY. Only 185, or 32 percent of all special education children, enrolled.
According to Falcone, roughly 100 students who were deemed eligible for ESY last year were not this year. Roughly 50 students exited special education, whether because they graduated from school, moved from town or sought private schooling. However, according to Falcone, 40 were newly eligible for ESY services.
"When you look at that number and you see that 100 students were not eligible, that's a big number and I think in terms of processes and taking a look at that," Falcone said, adding that the board has already suggested a couple of options in terms of reaching out to parents to find out if their children had been adversely affected.
"It was my recommendation to reach out to these 100 families," Falcone said.
The school district has only kept data on ESY enrollment for a few years, Flacone said. He added that he reached out to other communities to find where their ESY enrollment fell. The regional districts, Falcone found, saw enrollment percentages anywehere from 3 percent of special education children to 30 percent.
New state guidelines state require that a decision about whether or not a child is eligible for ESY must be made by April 1.