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Author Topic: What is the state of Special Education/RSP/Behavioral Intervenion in NH?  (Read 16922 times)

JFW

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Hello all,

As a prospective Free State'er I'm trying to do research into mine and my wife's respective career fields as they pertain to NH. Mine will be Physical Therapy and that is easy enough to find information on, but my wife's field has proven to be much harder. Currently we live in California and she works for a business that is contracted through local school districts to provide education services for children with special needs and behavioral disorders. That ranges from autism to crappy home life, needs guidance in school.

I have noticed on this forum that schooling in general is a touchy subject at best, and I've seen virtually nothing on the topic of special education. How is special education addressed in New Hampshire? Are there specific terms or names for special education jobs, i.e. RSP in California? Is it strictly a school ran enterprise? Are there private companies? Is there even an admitted need for such services? Job listings for special educators have been few and far between. That can indicate any number of things. I am looking for answers to these questions for a couple reasons. One, to assess the job market for my wife and two, to get a feel for the "climate" in New Hampshire from a different angle.

Are there any of you out there that have children who require special education services? If so, I'd love to hear what you have to say regarding the state of special education in NH, how you think it should be addressed, etc. I see a lot on homeschooling, but I would not presume to think that all parents are capable of homeschooling a special needs child. If so, that's amazing and more power to you. That is usually not the case though, hence why there are people such as my wife that are educated and trained for such endeavors. Being Free State'ers, do you think the State should stay out of the matter? If so, how would services be provided? Most states provide special needs services because of the vast resources required and expense. That doesn't mean I think California is addressing the situation properly though.

Looking forward to your input,
JFW
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lildog

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Re: What is the state of Special Education/RSP/Behavioral Intervenion in NH?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 02:40:46 pm »

Special education was a topic we just discussed in my town this week (I'm on the school's budget committee).

Unfortunately they were discussing that one of the outside schools we send special needs students to here in NH just recently closed down and we saw a budget increase because we now need to bus these students into Mass.

But each special needs situation is different.  If its cost effective the school districts will handle them in house, other cases school districts pool resources together and in extreme cases they'll send the students to specialized sites (such as the one that moved to MA).
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JFW

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Re: What is the state of Special Education/RSP/Behavioral Intervenion in NH?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 07:47:54 pm »

First, thank you for your reply.

Second, that's interesting. Why did the school close and move to Mass?

Third, do you think funding is the biggest issue with special education in NH? Do you like how special education is addressed in NH?

Thanks for your input again. I was beginning to wonder if this was just a forum of lurkers. Maybe special education isn't revolutionary enough for people. :)
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lildog

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Re: What is the state of Special Education/RSP/Behavioral Intervenion in NH?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 10:03:17 am »

Second, that's interesting. Why did the school close and move to Mass?

Clarification, it didn't move.  My town had to find an alternative since the school we sent special needs students to closed and the only alternative school offering the education they needed was in MA.

In the budget meeting we didn't get into why it closed, however they did point out it closed in Nov mid way through a school year which I though was odd.  You'd think they would have waited for the end of the year.

Third, do you think funding is the biggest issue with special education in NH? Do you like how special education is addressed in NH?

In my opinion, yes funding is a huge problem.  I'm not sure if it's limited to NH or if its a country wide issue.

The problem I see from a budget perspective is special needs students carry a huge financial burden.  Since federal guidelines require "education" for all students, even a child with no brain activity who's education consists of a nurse rubbing their back a hour a day still falls onto the school district to provide care.  I'm not in the largest town in NH but yet we have 3 students who's needs are so great that they alone add up to over $1 million in care.  The state average right now for coded students is around 15.5% and every single one of them carries added costs that a huge portion falls on the local towns.

This creates a double edge sword problem... one side you don't want to leave the students who need it most high and dry without the care they need but on the other side if you do too good a job, your town becomes a magnet for other families with special needs which blows the taxes away making it unaffordable to live there.

I wrote up some of the details a while back in an article found here:
http://www.nhinsider.com/richard-barnes/2008/2/6/double-edge-sword-of-special-education.html

I'm sure the numbers have since changed but at the time the federal government gave $1,300 per special ed child.  That's it... no more.  So if that student is one of the ones with higher needs with costs over $300,000, the federal government covers just $1,300 yet they put many mandates on towns forcing their hand.
And at the time the state only started paying after the cost hit $35,000.  And of the costs over $35,000 they cover 80%.

So do the math with me... students cost is $100,000.
Town will get $1,300 from the federal government
State covers $52,000

That means the town is left paying the bill of $46,700 through local property taxes.  Depending on the size of the town that can carry a huge burden on a small group of people.

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JFW

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Sorry I'm just replying....

Thank you for that explanation. Wow, interesting and kind of sad. I understand how it works though. So what are most parents of special education children in NH doing?
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