ConVal to add special education positions

The ConVal School Board meets June 18. 

The ConVal School Board meets June 18.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger Transcript 

Published: 06-20-2024 12:01 PM

Modified: 06-25-2024 11:27 AM


ConVal schools will have an additional full-time speech and language position and another speech and language assistant in the 2024-2025 school year after the School Board approved the positions Tuesday night.

At the June 4 School Board meeting, ConVal Special Education Director Ben Moenter presented a proposal which stated that while the district has a “stable core” of  speech and language staff in the larger buildings, the existing staff is not able to meet the requirements of students being served in smaller buildings, charter schools and remotely. 

Moenter’s proposal noted: “We have increases in charter school and out-of-district evaluation, and service needs which further spread out related service providers across our schools and required service locations. Some of those service locations are for our students that are out-of-state.” 

According to state and federal law, New Hampshire school districts are required to provide for the special education needs of all students living in the district, whether or not those students attend the district public schools. Special education is funded primarily local property taxes and costs are variable per year depending on student needs. 

According to Moenter, the total financial impact of the proposed new positions is estimated at $105,000. Moenter stressed the importance of early intervention in preschool and early grades, which is proven to “decrease service needs over time.” 

At the June 4 meeting, Temple School Board representative Jim Kingston proposed that any time the board is deciding to add a new position or program to the budget, it needs to also determine how the proposal will be funded. School Board Chair Dick Dunning of Peterborough agreed with Kingston’s suggestion, noting that for any new expenditures, the board would need to know “where  funds are going to come from, and where are we going to get that money.” 

ConVal Business Administrator Brian Cisneros said the district was able to save the required funds after the recent renegotiation of custodial contracts for the district.

“The district was recently able to save approximately $262,000 through the renegotiation of custodial contracts, and that amount will cover the proposed addition of speech and language positions,” Cisneros said. 

Reinstatement of Communications Committee proposed

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Dublin School Board representative Alan Edelkind raised the issue of re-establishing the School Board Communications Committee. 

“I feel that this board should reconsider the decision to discontinue the Communications Committee. I feel the role of that committee was very important to our role and our impact in the community,” Edelkind said. 

Dunning said that while the item could not be voted on at Tuesday’s night meeting, board members with questions should direct them to Edelkind so that they be addressed at the next public meeting, at which time the board will discuss and vote on the issue.