During a virtual meeting for the month of June, the Manchester Board of Education approved a new exceptional education position at Westwood Middle School.
The money for the position comes from the 2020-21 budget, and no new funds will be allocated.
Director of Schools Dr. Joey Vaughn said that the school currently only has one inclusion program teacher.
“The numbers dictate that the program have more support by an additional certified staff member,” Vaughn told the board.
He said that the new teacher would help with state mandated “push ins,” Students with IEPs that are able to attend regular education settings are placed into least restrictive environments. These students are able to interact and have the same expectations as students with an IEP, rather than have a pull out, Vaughn explained.
According to system documents, “Manchester City Schools Exceptional Education seeks to provide the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for all students. This means the doors to schools, classrooms, and school activities are open to every student and they are afforded every opportunity to be included with their non-disabled peers. A continuum of services is available for each student based on the IEP team decision on the placement of those services – either in general education or exceptional education setting. The focus is on giving each student the help he/she needs to learn.”
Manchester City Schools provides a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all students who qualify for services through exceptional education in the “least restrictive environment.”
Also during the meeting, Vaughn noted that the state has cut teacher raises.
Vaughn said that there will not be a salary increase at this point. The state funds would have gone toward step raises. Overall, 4% increases were initially planned for the budget, but cut due to COVID-19 uncertainties.
Vaughn assured the board, however, that the approved budget is still solid and the BEP is constant.
“We are able to meet the budget. The BEP is funded with no increase. That 2% is something that we had counted on,” he said.
The cut will amount to about $200,000. The system will still provide salary scheduled step raises.