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May 8, 2014

LCSC to vote on special ed co-op change

School board among nine to decide on decentralization

Decentralization of the local special education cooperative is nearing completion as area school boards vote in favor of, or against the measure.

Logansport Community School Board members will vote Monday on whether they’re in favor of decentralizing the Logansport Area Joint Special Services Cooperative, a group of nine school corporations which pool their special education services.

LAJSSC has so far been centralized, meaning all the special-education teachers and staff members under its umbrella were also considered employees of Logansport Community Schools, regardless which of the nine member schools they were placed in, and were covered by Logansport’s benefits package and teacher contracts.

As long as decentralization goes through — and LCSC Superintendent Michele Starkey suspects it will — teachers who are placed at one of the eight other member school corporations besides LCSC will become employees of the various school corporations, moving to those corporations’ contracts and benefits. LAJSSC staffers at LCSC won’t see a change at all, remaining as Logansport school employees.

Services provided by the cooperative won’t change either, Starkey noted. “Parents and students won’t really see a difference.”

The move comes as the Indiana Legislature has increasingly pushed for school accountability. As LAJSSC decentralizes, many of its teachers will move out from the LAJSSC umbrella and come under the umbrella of the individual school corporations.

“It gives everybody more local control over their people,” Starkey said. “It’s not like it’s going to save anybody a bunch of money.”

For decentralization to go into effect July 1 as planned, a majority of the member schools must approve it. Four already have, according to Starkey — Caston, Eastern Pulaski, Southeastern and Twin Lakes school corporations.

Logansport’s school board will consider the measure Monday, as will Delphi Community Schools’ board, according to the Delphi board’s agenda posted to the school website.

Starkey expects the Pioneer and North Miami school boards to consider the measure Tuesday. Carroll Consolidated School Board will likely consider it at its May 20 meeting, Starkey said.

Reach Sarah Einselen at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

If you go: WHAT: Logansport Community School Board meeting WHEN: 5 p.m. Monday WHERE: School corp. administration building, 2829 George St. in Logansport

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