Though many things are changing about preschool for residents in Sidney, the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD) will keep people with disabilities as their top priority. As we approach the transition with Sidney City Schools (SCS), it remains important to us to ensure that children with disabilities receive the supports they need, no matter where they are attending school in Shelby County.
This is not how we expected this upcoming school year to go. We can appreciate SCS is responsible to tax-payers to be fiscally responsible. Unfortunately for us, losing Sidney’s students will result in staff lay-offs at Shelby Hills.
One issue many in the community have questioned is the timeline.
In early 2018, the SCBDD determined that with the loss of tangible personal property tax and in order to be fiscally responsible, it would be necessary to involve the school districts in the funding of special education preschool. This information was passed to the school districts at meetings that occurred in the spring of 2018.
In October of 2018, another meeting was held between SCS and SCBDD. Mr. Humble stated they were planning on taking the preschool back at that meeting and he was interested in a 2020 timeline. Due to the future change, we requested that SCS start sending a district representative to IEP meetings that involved their future students. When that request was made, SCS decided to move the timeline to the 2019-2020 school year. We want to have a positive relationship between SCS and SCBDD. I believe we all want the best for children.
Some employees at Shelby Hills are vocal and have been present at SCS informational meetings. While we have asked these staff to be mindful of their approach, we understand their sentiment. This is a loss to us. I appreciate that SCS is being responsible and doing what needs to be done for their district. We hope this has a positive impact for their district. Still, many of us are emotional about this change. We will have to reduce our staffing in the preschool and the staff at Shelby Hills is like a family.
It amazes me that this loss of employment is not our staffs focus. They have kept their focus that the children we serve receive the best education that can be provided to them. They are more concerned about our Shelby Hills families and children than they are for themselves.
As we have for over three decades, Shelby Hills will continue to make all students our focus for the rest of the school year.
Wenning is the superintendent of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities.