Teaching staff at Jefferson Elementary’s day treatment program, an all-day program for kids with emotional behavioral disorders (EBD), were cut by the Winona Area Public School Board last month. The cut is as part of a $500,000 budget reduction. Morning therapy sessions for EBD students will continue at Jefferson, but the positions of two educators who run afternoon academic sessions for the day treatment program will be eliminated.
That cut is projected to save the school $38,000 in annual salaries. Sixty percent of special education salaries are paid by the state.
When asked why the district decided to cut positions so heavily subsidized, district superintendent Scott Hannon said, “The fact is we’re going to be able to serve those kids just as well with existing staff.”
The eight students in the Jefferson program will either be served by EDB academic programs at other district schools or will attend regular classes.
WAPS Special Education Director Judi Vold said other EBD programs “can absorb those students without any disturbance for the students.”
Kelsey DeBoerr, a case manager for the Jefferson day treatment program, said the change should not have much impact on students except that, “there are a lot of kids that really struggle with transition.” Transitioning for day treatment to mainstream classes in a day is “really hard.”