El Paso, Socorro and Ysleta independent school districts cut special ed

Schools cope with dwindling budgets, staff for special ed

Posted: 03/21/2011 12:00:00 AM MDT

Angelica Nieto will have to make the same-size staff manage more students in Ysleta’s special education programs.

She is not alone as area school districts brace for budget cuts in the face of Texas facing a nearly $27 billion deficit.

School district officials said they have already made cuts in special education, leaving them with minimal staff members as it is. In the past three years El Paso, Socorro and Ysleta independent school districts have cut more than 150 positions from special education. Yet the number of special ed students in those districts has increased by about 500.

Nieto, executive director of special education for Ysleta ISD, said Ysleta has an open enrollment but most schools are nearing capacity with about 190 student transfers.

“Everybody’s going to see budget cuts,” Nieto said. “But we are not going to be caught off guard. Creating more positions is not going to be an option, but I’m pretty confident that we will be able to maintain what we have.”

More than 9 percent of the student population, or about 15,800 students, in El Paso’s nine school districts are receiving additional support through special education.

Full story.

IDEA MONEY WATCH COMMENT:  We’d like to know what these districts did with the IDEA Recovery Act funds they received! And, how they are managing to make all of these reductions without violating the MOE provision of IDEA.

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