MOUNT VERNON — The governing board of the Knox County Educational Service Center got a nasty surprise at its meeting Wednesday — If nothing changes in HB 59 between now and July 1, the ESC will lose 100 percent of the state foundation money it currently gets for gifted and early childhood program services. It is also slated to lose 100 percent of local foundation funds for supervisor allowances, special education extended services and local amount per pupil. The ESC will continue to receive a per pupil amount from the state, but that will be reduced to $25 per child served.
“It’s a very frightening time,” Treasurer Heather Darnold told the News on Thursday. “The bill still has to be approved by the House and Senate, but we stand to lose a net 73 percent of our state funding. Local school districts will have to pay more for our services, and they aren’t getting any extra money from the state.”
By law, school districts must belong to an ESC, which coordinates preschool programs, special education in the areas of emotional and multiple disabilities, educational aides, speech therapy, occupational therapy and preschool psychology services. The ESC also employs consultants in areas such as special education, curriculum, professional development, preschool, gifted and elementary education and also provides training for substitute teachers.
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