MUHS discusses restructure of special education

COTTONWOOD - The Mingus Union High School Governing Board met Thursday night in a special work session. The board discussed the restructuring of the special education department to allow sharing a director of Special Education Services with Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District. Also discussed was sharing a school resource officer with C-OC.

In recent weeks, MUHS and C-OC have been working toward various intergovernmental agreements that will allow the two districts to share services, including some administration positions.

On the matter of special education, Superintendent Tim Foist told the board that the two districts have been moving forward on combined efforts to bring the districts together with cost-sharing agreements.

Foist said a shared director of special education is needed. He said that shared position likely would cost about $80,000 per year. Both MUHS and C-OC districts need their own IEP specialist (Individual Education Plan), but a director of special education will be shared.

Board President James Ledbetter asked Foist if each school district will have its own IEP specialist.

Foist said each district will in fact have its own IEP specialist. "Our staff will not be short," Foist said. "We will take care of our special needs kids."

Board member John Tavasci Jr. asked if IEP specialists are certified.

Foist said that the IEP specialist will be certified. He said he wants teachers to understand that if they need help with integrating special education plans the district will have a specialist to help them.

"Our teachers will get hands-on training," Foist said. He explained to the board that IEP guidelines used to be four pages, but now they are about 28 pages.

The board also discussed sharing a School Resource Officer with C-OC.

Foist explained that it takes about $47,000 to hire a resource officer, and that Mingus has been in a shared situation with C-OC this year for the position. He said administration is asking for the board to give the go ahead to continue sharing an officer with C-OC.

Principal Tamara Addis told the board that sharing the officer has been manageable as far as time is concerned. She explained that instead of Resource Officer, the shared position is for a School Safety Officer.

Tavasci told the board that in addition to the Director of Special Education and the School Safety Officer positions, plans are in motion to share a facilities director. He said that position will eventually lead to a shared director of transportation between the districts.

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