SOUTHINGTON — School officials are eyeing new positions to support students and teachers in the upcoming school year.
The district's fiscal 2021 spending plan includes a new transition specialist to help high school special education students transition into potential jobs and internships after graduation.
That position has a budgeted salary of $51,065.
The district has not had a staff person to oversee vocational or transition programs for special education students for the past decade, according to the Board of Education’s Fiscal 2021 budget documents.
The position is designed to ensure individualized education plans are being followed and the district is fulfilling its state obligation to provide transition services for special education students 14 and older.
School Superintendent Tim Connellan said that despite the lack of a dedicated position, transition services were provided.
“It's been done by people who are already in place as special education teachers, who have teaching responsibilities,” Connellan said. “Transition services is something that is mandated by the law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. We've seen the percentage of students with disabilities increase over time.”
During the past school year, 905 students in the district were identified as having special needs, according to the state Department of Education.
By comparison, during the 2015-2016 school year the district had 781 students with special needs.
Meanwhile, a new math specialist position has a $38,299 salary. According to the budget, the school district had been increasing the number of math specialists to provide intervention for students and coaching for teachers.