Why Christina Is Very Different Than The Other Wilmington School Districts: Special Education

I heard a lot of comments in the past 24 hours about Christina School District’s bloated administrative costs and their higher cost per pupil.  While that may be true, did anyone bother to check why that is true?  I did, and it took five minutes to figure out what all the naysayers were unable to do.  I actually posted this in a comment on another blog earlier: https://criblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/whats-next-for-christina-school-district/#comment-3511

As for the difference in funding between Red Clay and Christina, there is a HUGE difference between one portion of their populations: special education. Based on national estimates of extra costs per special education student in America, it works out to be about $9,369 extra per student. Red Clay has 11.9% special education whereas Christina has 17.9%. If you multiply the number of students by those percentages, and then multiply that number by that average special education cost, it works out like this:

Red Clay: $22,635,504 in special education funding
Christina: $33,237,473 in special education funding

Now these are based on national averages. We all know Delaware has some of the highest per-pupil funding in the country. So that nearly 11 million dollar difference is probably about 18-25% higher. As well, Christina has the Delaware School for the Deaf, as well as many of Delaware’s DAP programs. These are not inexpensive programs, and that constitutes a lot of the differences between the two districts. This is something that would also cause additional administrative costs as there would have to be a lot of coordination with other state agencies.

So what these voters who said “No more” essentially did was cut services for many special education kids. That’s why I take such offense at the attitudes of some of these folks who voted no. While I’m sure they believed in what they were saying, I don’t think they realized this essential fact.

I’ve said this time and time again but far too many don’t want to get it.  The key to so many of the problems in Delaware stem around special education.  I wrote the other day how there are probably 20% of Delaware’s students that should be on an IEP, but only 13% actually are.  I also said this is about 50% of the problems with education in the state.  You can read about a classic example along with the comments about how special education doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room it has become in so many of our schools.  Maybe now eyes will start to open.  As for Christina, they have to figure out where to take funds away from and which jobs to cut.  And who suffers the most, the students.  And in Christina’s case, a whole lot of special education students…