School for disabled students may be on its way to Beloit - Beloit Daily News: News

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School for disabled students may be on its way to Beloit

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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 4:00 pm

The School District of Beloit Board of Education voted to authorize the district to move forward with negotiations to lease Royce Elementary to Oconomowoc Residential Programs, Inc. (ORP Management) which runs Gennessee Lake School in Oconomowoc, Wis. and Richardson School in West Allis Wis., at the Tuesday evening meeting.

These schools provide day services as well as residential services for students with severe disabilities. The lease would be for two to three years for Royce, according to information in the Board packet.

ORP Management would like to open a school in Rock County for students with severe disabilities and is interested in leasing Royce Elementary in order to open their doors in the fall of 2013. ORP also is interested in either leasing or purchasing McLenegan Elementary or Morgan Elementary once those buildings are vacant.

Currently the School District of Beloit is sending five students to Rockford to an Easter Seals facility. If the district can come to a lease agreement for ORP and also pay the day rate for tuition for each of the five students to attend this school in Beloit, the district could potentially save more than $40,000 a year for each student including transportation.

Oconomowoc Residential Programs, Inc. (ORP) and its family of companies provide specialized services and dignified care for children, adolescents and adults with disabilities. In operation since 1984, ORP oversees eight companies that each year serve more than 1,700 individuals from around the country, in facilities and community-based settings throughout Wisconsin and Indiana.

The array of services includes a spectrum of supports to promote the ability of the people we serve to live as independently as possible in the community. Services include year-round education programs, community-based residential settings, community care services, treatment programs, and day services,

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  • Gonfo5 posted at 1:23 pm on Fri, Jul 12, 2013.

    Gonfo5 Posts: 177

    I know I wasn't a math major but if my calculations are correct and this article is based on hard facts, if they are saving $40,000 per year, per kid + transportation, just using the $40k figure for 5 kids for 12 years of schooling, that equates to $2.4 million. What is the actual cost prior to this $40k savings and what are transportation costs? The schools they closed down a few years ago are still open and being paid to operate and be maintained. What would the cost difference be if you controlled this function in house using a building you are already paying to operate? I'm sure you would have to hire certified teachers & aids but what is the cost difference to keep it in house? I'm not saying this hasn't been already looked into but if you're going to run a story, put all the facts out there so people can agree or disagree with something based on all the facts.

  • BeloitCitizen posted at 5:17 pm on Thu, Jul 11, 2013.

    BeloitCitizen Posts: 12

    I would certainly hope it would remain a choice for the families.

    I worry about having a local facility - will it become more tempting to send students there because it will be cheaper than making the decision to place them out of district?

  • BeloitCitizen posted at 5:07 pm on Thu, Jul 11, 2013.

    BeloitCitizen Posts: 12

    I'm a bit baffled. If these children are school age, why do they need "day services" and "residential services"? Sounds like yet another way for public schools to pass the buck on serving ALL the students in their district.

    It also begs the question - who pays? If these are school age children (article says the program will be for "students" and makes no mention of adults), will my public dollars meant for schooling be going to a private business that is not held accountable?

  • Mentor397 posted at 4:51 pm on Thu, Jul 11, 2013.

    Mentor397 Posts: 1642

    Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it sounds like the district would be sending these kids to this school, regardless of what the students or their families want. Maybe it's best for the child, but after all their carping about charter schools not having to deal with students with disabilities, it sounds a bit hypocritical.


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