Archive for Thursday, January 16, 2014

Basehor-Linwood votes to dissolve Leavenworth Special Education Cooperative

January 16, 2014, 6:00 a.m.

Updated: 6:00 a.m.

The Basehor-Linwood school district, along with with several other districts in Leavenworth County, have voted to dissolve the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative.

Basehor-Linwood Superintendent David Howard presented the dissolution of the cooperative agreement during Monday's USD 458 School Board meeting and said it is in the best interest for Basehor-Linwood to "rip the Band-aid off" when it came to dismantling the cooperative rather than trying to amend it over time. The board approved the resolution for termination of the special education cooperative unanimously.

"My belief is that if we slow down this decision," Howard said, "then that is one more year that our special education staff is wondering what’s going to happen to them.”

Under the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative, all special education teachers and paraeducatiors were under contract with Leavenworth Public Schools and could teach at any of the six school districts within the county.

The resolution approved Monday, which would have to be approved by the state board of education, would dissolve the cooperative agreement at the end of June.

Howard said the special education staff that works in the Basehor-Linwood School District in the current cooperative agreement would be offered the same contract when the cooperative is terminated, but the contract would be controlled by USD 458 instead of Leavenworth.

"We’d have total autonomy of our staff," Howard said.

Howard said he had reviewed the salary scale for the special education professionals and would offer the same contracts to them.

The resolution, while creating autonomy for Basehor-Linwood, would also create a mini cooperative with the Tonganoxie in which both school districts would share a director, coordinator and possibly a budget director. Basehor-Linwood and Tonganoxie were already sharing educators as members of the south zone of the Leavenworth County cooperative. The Tonganoxie School Board voted to dissolve the special education cooperative this week, too.

Howard said the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative was unsustainable because of the increased contributions Basehor-Linwood was being asked to make. Last year, Basehor-Linwood contributed more than $200,000 to the cooperative, more than 20 percent more than the previous year.

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