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School district needs services of cooperative

Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

When reading the article about Sterling School District requesting to sever its ties with Bi-County Special Education, I was appalled. Being a consumer of the educational services as a state employee, I’m extremely concerned children and families the state of Illinois serves will not get the services they’re promised through their Individual Educational Plan.

The IEP is a legal document the school district must comply with as to services for children, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. Bi-County Co-op has provided such services to the highest standard. Many children who were originally educated by the Sterling School District are now in the Bi-County Co-op programs.

Specialized services are needed for our “special” children. Is the Sterling School District ready for lawsuits when they don’t provide the necessary services outlined in the IEP, or when the district is unable to provide an education for a minor due to their disabilities?

Lawsuits would heavily outweigh the costs the district states they would save. In deciding the future for so many children, the board took only 15 minutes for its decision to sever its ties with Bi-County. That in itself tells me the children’s education wasn’t taken into consideration, only savings of $160,000.

I ask the Sterling School District whether severing its ties for $160,000 is worth the lives of the children who deserve the highest and best education they can receive, whatever their disability may be?

I urge a Sterling School Board member to file a motion on record to reconsider the motion to leave the district in the Bi-County Special Education Co-op, and ask the board to reconsider its vote on leaving the co-op.

I also urge all other districts that are considering severing their ties with Bi-County Special Education Co-op to reconsider, as our children’s lives are worth more than a few dollars.

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