Special ed payment
Board would give districts two years to pay $136,000
The Marathon County Children with Disabilities Education Board is expected to vote in April on a plan that would generate $711,000 over two years to replenish a depleted board fund balance.
The plan, according to special education director Dr. Kelly Kapitz, would require six rural consortium schools to come up with around $136,000 each to correct a two-year error in 2017 and 2018 where the board added 21 new staff, but was unaware the amount of federal IDEA money it would receive was overestimated.
The board has, to date, taken $1,051,000 from its fund balance to pay for the mistake, but now wants the school districts to replenish this fund.
Kapitz said board members realize that it would be a hardship or even impossible for some districts to make up the full $136,000 in a single budget year. The board next month will vote on whether to offer the schools a two-year payment plan.
“Districts can pay in full in one year or choose a two-year make-up if that is more fiscally amenable,” she said.
Kapitz said the two-year solution has been worked out with administrators from the six consortium schools: Abnbotsford, Edgar, Athens, Marathon, Rosholt and Spencer.
“No one’s happy with any of this,” added Kapitz. “We have not had cheerful meetings.”
The director said she has tried to cut program costs as a way to deal with the fiscal shortfall.
Most recently, she said the special education program dropped its occupational and physical therapy contract with Aspirus and opted to provide the therapy with its own staff at a cost savings.
Kapitz said that each school district will not pay the same $136,000 to correct the error, but the amount will adjusted up or down as much as $15,000 depending on how many services have been used by the local district.