The following is an open letter from Lakewood, NJ, Board of Ed member Chezky Seitler:
There has been much misinformation going around, about the proposed change in Title 1 services being done. I feel that it is important to clear up a few facts.
1. Catapult is not being “thrown out”. All we are doing is allowing for the schools principal and administrators to choose if they want Catapult or not. Most will choose Catapult anyways, it is only the ones that want to change, that will. The teachers will be rehired by the new company in any case.
2. No self contained classes, STARS program, or any other IDEA funded program is being cut. Locally we supplement 1,150,000 for these programs. On top of 3.8 million of Federal funds. We cut that amount by 88,000 which can easily be made up in efficiency. We have bidders who will hopefully come in cheaper by more than that amount thereby INCREASING services. If we stay with Catapult, we may lose some services, as the stimulus money from Obama is no longer. With 1 million less in Federal funding, we need to make the program more efficient. A new company may be able to do just that. It was due to this reduction in Federal Funding, that we avoided any substantial reduction in the local supplement. Any rumors that the new board is cutting these services, is wrong. We are trying to make do with much less money from Washington and we need providers who can do it for less. To blame us for the loss of stimulus funds is inaccurate. The funds were a short term thing (for 2 years) and everyone knew they would be gone in 2010-2011
While most people understand that rumors are just that, I feel that many of our kehillah are in a state of fear for no reason. We are committed to making sure every child gets the education they need. We are only trying to bring competition to help INCREASE these services. As the price goes down, we can service more children with the funds we have. Any rumor otherwise is baseless and profit driven.