A social worker soon will be walking the hallways of St. Clair High School after the R-XIII Board of Education last month approved receiving money from a state grant that partially will fund the position the rest of this academic year as well as all of 2013-2014.
The funding for the school-based service worker will be split with 65 percent coming from the district and 35 percent provided by the state.
“This person would help us with some of our troubled kids and their families,” Superintendent Mike Murphy said during the board’s January meeting.
According to the grant’s language, the goal of the contract between the Department of Social Services, Children’s Division and the St. Clair R-XIII School District is “the prevention and early identification of children at risk of child abuse and neglect or other barriers that would limit full potential for success in the school setting and early intervention and the provision of services to strengthen families.”
The contract states that the state agency agrees to contribute 35 percent of the total salary and benefits necessary, not to exceed an annual maximum of $12,049.80.
Under the terms, St. Clair R-XIII then would be responsible for the balance of the amount, which cannot be more than $24,080.19.
Since the 2012-2013 academic year is past its halfway point, the amount would be half for the current school year and the full figure for 2013-2014.
Murphy told The Missourian earlier this month he is hopeful a decision on whom to hire will be made soon and the individual hired would start in the near future.
The board of education’s vote to approve the position and the terms of the deal was almost unanimous with Dave Hinson opposed.
Also during the board’s January meeting, Cindy Edwards, R-XIII Early Childhood Special Education coordinator, went through a power point presentation highlighting the program.
The Franklin County Cooperative houses the students in the program, which was started in Union in 1975 and moved to the old Anaconda School in 1989. It serves 13 school districts in Franklin, Crawford and Gasconade counties and provides assistance to children who have delays in multiple areas of development.
There are center-based classrooms at St. Clair Elementary, Bourbon Elementary, Franklin County R-II, Gerald Elementary and at the Steelville Early Childhood Center. The two local elementary school classrooms serve children from St. Clair, Lonedell and Richwoods.
The program is financed through federal funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as well as state general revenue funds.
“The co-op works with an exceptional group of students who have a variety of educational needs,” Edwards said. “We have an awesome, hard-working and highly qualified staff that goes above and beyond to provide special education services.”
According to information from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, all children with disabilities residing in the state are identified, located and evaluated. School districts and other public agencies responsible for providing special education must offer a free and appropriate public education to children who have been identified as eligible under the criteria outlined in the Missouri State Plan for Special Education as early as a child’s third birth date.
Parents of children who are 3 to 5 years old or approaching age 3 who suspect their child may have a developmental delay or handicapping condition that may affect them educationally may contact their local school district to make a referral for evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services.