Sharon Parents Want Autism Partnership to Remain in Place
Parents say they have unanswered questions.
The Sharon schools' partnership serving children on the autism spectrum should remain in place in the fall, the participating families tell the school committee.
In a Feb. 27 letter and then during last Wednesday's school board meeting, parents said they're unclear why Director of Student Services Steven Kaplan has proposed changing the New England Center for Children-Sharon public schools partnership, even after meeting with him and Superintendent Timothy Farmer on Feb. 6. All 15 families affected want the program to remain this fall, one parent told the board.
Kaplan told the school board Wednesday he considers his plan a staffing change, toward better serving a cohort of elementary students heading to Sharon Middle School, among other benefits.
"We haven't had a program at the middle school," he said.
"We've had a hybrid program."
The parents, meanwhile, said the program would change.
"We don't think this is a simple staffing change, and we believe these changes take extraordinary risks with our children," one parent told the board.
The school committee will discuss the matter again on March 14 -- but limit the talk to "is this a school committee matter or not," Chairman Laura Salomons said.
School officials have proposed shifting the current NECC partnership structure to an in-house one over the next two years, "to expand our capacity to provide this program 'In-‐House' with support from NECC," according to the school administration's Jan. 18 budget forum presentation.
This fall, NECC would provide curriculum and support, while the Sharon schools would provide one master's level certified teacher.
In its second year, the in-house program would save Sharon $125,000 versus the current program, according to the budget presentation.