Saturday, July 13, 2024

Cashmere School District recoups over $130,000 In funding for special needs students

Posted

CASHMERE—As the school year has wrapped up, the Cashmere School Board applauds the district staff, who worked tirelessly to ensure that their highest-needs students receive adequate funding and resources.

Though Washington State provides some additional funding for special education, there is no question amongst educators and school administrators that special education programs and special needs students are widely underfunded across the country. Thankfully, Washington State provides what is known as safety net funding to school districts that thoroughly assess their capacity for special education as exceeding the state and federal funding levels. In other words, through safety net funding, school districts are able to receive reimbursement for any extra money used towards special education if a district is able to document the needs of their special education students and the subsequent per-minute costs of any special education programs and staff.

Cashmere School District (CSD) Business Manager, Bo Charlton, explained the safety net funding, sharing, “Ultimately it’s a program that is through the state that allows school districts to kind of recoup some of the funds that we spend over the course of the year on our highest need students.”

Understandably, this process requires a great deal of work and care. With the united teamwork of special education teachers,  behavioral health specialists, and school administrators, the school district was capable of assessing the resource needs of each special education student in detail, a massive year-long undertaking. As a result, Cashmere School District received a reimbursement of $131,000 in 2024 Safety Net Funding.

CSD Special Education Director Michelle Christensen further described the importance of this funding, stating, “The purpose behind the safety net is that it’s not extra money. We have to prove that we spent the money, and it’s a reimbursement. And it’s reserved for our students with the most significant needs.” 

Christensen then explained the complex team effort it takes to sufficiently complete a Safety Net Funding request, “It starts with good staff that are really great at knowing the things that they need to have put into the paperwork, and that’s a big part of it right there. The special services secretary is instrumental in pulling the information that we need, and it’s a matter of getting with all the teachers that serve these students and making sure that they are filling out the [information] correctly.” 

Cashmere School District Superintendent, Glenn Johnson, reinforced the importance of safety net funding, commenting, “We honor providing a quality education for each and every kid. That means that we’ve got to serve different needs… Some kids come with more challenges, and we embrace that. But, the fact is that those safety net funds are critical to provide for the needs that are there.”

Thinking about the positive growth the district has undergone in successfully attaining Safety Net reimbursement, Christensen added,”I feel like each year we do it, we’re getting a little more efficient at understanding the process. I feel like our district is very supportive of doing what we need to do for kids. I think that’s what I love about Cashmere, because kids are at the center of everything. All the decisions that are made, it’s kid centered. And so, if we have a student with a need, the district will do what’s necessary to meet that need.” 

Will Nilles: (509) 731-3211 or will@ward.media

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here