Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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November 10, 2012

ACSC considers changes to special education

AVON — The school corporation here has long had an exemplary special education program, one that's recommended by various health care providers, physicians, and even other school districts.

"We've been able to maintain a very high level of service, but that has become more difficult in the last four to five years as our foundation support has decreased," Superintendent Margaret Hoernemann told the school board during its meeting Thursday morning at Avon Intermediate School East.

In fact, she added, the program typically goes beyond what's required by law to provide for special needs students. With less money, though, administrators have been constantly reassessing for the past year, trying to find ways to be more efficient while still delivering the same level of service.

"What we've discovered is our caseloads aren't as high as any other district," Hoernemann said. "In fact, our K through eight caseloads are much smaller. However, we've also discovered we have some pretty disparate caseloads throughout our school district. It's very difficult - with different programs offered in different buildings - to maintain a reasonable caseload that's similar across all our districts."

The program also is scrutinizing its delivery model to determine whether it's the best way to serve its students. Administrators are now considering bringing in an outside consultant for feedback.

What got them on this track involves the West Central Joint Services Co-op that Avon is in with Brownsburg, Danville, Plainfield, and others. Part of that membership includes access to the Sanders School, a day program for students who need more support than what their home district can provide. Avon currently has 11 students enrolled there.

Last spring, the Wayne Township Metropolitan School Corporation, which operates the Sanders School, announced it was leaving the co-op.

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