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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

SL schools may inherit AEA special education program, staff

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

The Storm Lake School District may see 44 special education teachers and instructors come under its control, though it should have little effect in the classrooms.

The Arrowhead AEA has decided to no longer operate special needs instructional programs for school districts.

Currently the AEA hires the teachers and instructional assistants and then bills the school district on a per student basis.

The change is more of a bookkeeping item, according to Connie Johnson, AEA spokesperson. In the past AEAs oversaw the programs and did all of the hiring of teachers and assistants. But in order to streamline the AEA, the decision was made to revert control back to the school district.

"The decision wasn't made overnight," Johnson said. "Our special ed director has been talking to superintendents in these districts for quite a long time and they were aware that this was a possibility."

Instead of districts paying the AEA for the teachers and staff, the Storm Lake district will issue contracts to the instructors.

School districts have had the choice to take special needs operations over this year or wait until next year.

AEA will still provide social workers, occupational and physical therapists and audiologists for school districts.

The change will affect about 10 teachers and 34 instructional assistants in Storm Lake, Kruse said. Half of the special needs kids in the Storm Lake district come from other districts, Kruse said. Storm Lake will bill those other districts on a per student basis for special ed services.

Also, Arrowhead is planning on merging with AEA 3 later this year. Currently AEA 3 does not operate any of the instructional programs that Arrowhead does.

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