- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

BARRE, Vt. (AP) - In a story Aug. 3 about a proposal to change special education policy for private schools that receive public money, The Associated Press erroneously reported the name of the organization that is considering the change. It is the state Board of Education, not the Agency of Education.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Plan requiring special-ed services at some schools advances

Vermont’s state education board is weighing a proposal that would force independent schools to accommodate students with special needs if those schools accept public tuition money

BARRE, Vt. (AP) - Vermont’s state education board is weighing a proposal that would force independent schools to accommodate students with special needs if those schools accept public tuition money.

The Caledonian Record reports (http://bit.ly/2avkWM1) officials are now working to implement the proposal following the state Board of Education’s move last week in Barre.

In November, the board that sets Vermont’s education policy, had asked the state Agency of Education, which implements those policies, to look at the rules that apply to independent schools.

Under the proposal, independent schools would have to offer services to students with disabilities in “each special education category of disability,” including intellectual disabilities, hearing and speech impairments, and autism spectrum disorder.

The plan has faced questions though.

Mill Moore, executive director of the Vermont Independent Schools Association, said Tuesday the proposed changes would “fall very heavily” on about 80 percent of all approved independents in Vermont.

Moore said these schools often have small enrollments and many will have to choose between accepting public tuition students or adopting all the changes, some of which could be expensive and provide little value to those schools.

“It will be a difficult decision for schools such as Thaddeus Stevens School, which has about one-fourth of its enrollment on public support,” said Moore. “This also will mean a loss of opportunity for students from all the school choice towns.”

Julie Hansen, head of school at Thaddeus Stevens School in Lyndon Center said Tuesday, she doesn’t have a problem with being approved for special education.

“That’s not the issue,” Hansen said. “The issue is this: Once a child is in public education and is diagnosed within a district, the district decides where the services will be received.”

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