Conrad Weiser board wants more information on special education costs


Several board members said the public has a right to know what is spent to serve those students.

Written by Ed Oswald

Robesonia, PA —

Some Conrad Weiser School Board members requested more information about the district’s special education costs at Wednesday night’s meeting, arguing that the public has a right to know what is spent to serve those students.

Altogether the board approved six contracts for 10 students with specialized schools in the area, many in Lancaster County. Such expenses are required by law to be absorbed by the district as part of its annual budget.

These expenses — and they are very expensive — are mandated by the state. We have no choice,” board member Bill Carl said

Dr. Randall A. Grove, superintendent, responded, “These are baseline students,” meaning the students require additional assistance to meet educational targets that the district does not have the resources for in its own department.

Most of the contracts voted on included a total dollar amount; some provided only daily rates. It also was unclear in the requests whether the daily rates were per student, which made it difficult to judge how much the district was spending, and none stated what services were to be provided.

“Because we’re spending so much per day, how do we compare it to the others. which it says is tuition for the year?” board member Gary Neider asked, looking to compare those per-day contracts to get an idea of what the district was truly spending.

Special education director Jessica Head explained that some schools word their contracts in this way, while others provide their rates on a yearly basis.

Neider said he understood but argued it would be better for the public to have more information on these schools, especially if they’re providing similar services.

“I think the public has a right to know that,” he said.

Head and Grove both agreed to provide more information, however, the district might not be able to offer detailed information due to confidentiality concerns.

“I’m not trying to breach any confidentiality, but just so we have a comparison, so people know what they’re here to provide,” Neider said.

Contact the City Desk: 610-371-5012 or [email protected]

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