This fall, Fulton’s city schools will host two special education classes that Oswego County BOCES had previously provided.
The district will conduct one class at Lanigan Elementary School and one at G. Ray Bodley High School for at least ten special education students who require the most intensive services.
The two classrooms will feature one teacher and one aide for six students and will have a counselor available. In addition, the district will hire an administrator to oversee those two classrooms and the five existing rooms for students who require less intensive services.
It’s part of the district’s strategy of bringing special education services back to the school district after years of farming out the work to BOCES.
Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch says that even with the hiring necessary to staff the two intensive classrooms, including the administrator, the district will spend less than it has spent to pay BOCES for the work. He estimated that BOCES received more than $400,000 for these services last school year and the district will pay $350,000 – $370,000 to provide the services locally.
Lynch said the effort is also intended to “have Fulton kids in Fulton schools”. “These are our students,” said board member Rae Howard, who has been an advocate for increased local special education.
The students in the new, intensive classrooms, who were described by Lynch as having “significant emotional issues”, will probably have little interaction at first with the rest of the school. He said the district would proceed carefully before exposing those students to the rest of the school population.