Does Trenton Need an I.E.P.?

The Trenton Times reports that the state fiscal monitor who oversees Trenton Public Schools told the School Board that there are “pervasive management problems in the special education department.” An audit revealed that the district is paying millions of dollars in tuition for students enrolled in out-of-district placements that they don’t actually attend. Recent staff cuts eliminated the people who track attendance, so the fiscal monitor has ordered that Trenton refill those positions. Trenton is also operating currently without a special education director; Superintendent Rodney Lofton has taken over those responsibilities. (Let’s see: about $100 –$150K for a special ed director vs. millions of dollars in unnecessary payments…)

The DOE’s “user-friendly budget”
shows that in 2009 Trenton sent 289 kids to private placements (some over $50K per year in tuition), 481 kids are sent to “other districts – special ed program,” and 201 are in “state facilities.” Total enrollment in Trenton Public Schools is about 11,500. Does Trenton really send 10% of its kids out-of-district? Your Abbott money at work.