FORTVILLE – As the first day of school looms, Mt. Vernon educators are putting the finishing touches on the corporation’s revamped special education program and realigning staff as a longtime multi-county organization for students with special needs prepares to dissolve.
Mt. Vernon administrators have hired more than 30 staff members in recent months and are making plans with other county school districts to share resources among schools tasked with spearheading their own special ed programming — some for the first time in 40 years.
This year, Mt. Vernon School Corp. will offer its own special education program, departing from Hancock Madison Shelby Educational Services, a Greenfield-based special education cooperative that at one time served six school districts from three counties. Mt. Vernon was the second district to withdraw from the program in as many years; in April, local school boards voted to disband the co-op, citing waning participation.
As Mt. Vernon launches its own in-house services, Southern Hancock and Eastern Hancock school districts are weighing their options for next year, when the co-op will dissolve, leaving them to plan and implement special education programming.
At Mt. Vernon, in addition to a director and the assistant director, the new staff this year will include 23 special education teachers, five speech and language pathologists plus a handful of assistants, said Laura Durig, Mt. Vernon’s director of special education.
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