Expelled...who pays for education?


POSTED: Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 6:41pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 15, 2011 - 10:13am

If a student is expelled for criminal activity in school, and they don’t go to jail, how do they finish their education?
Right now, it’s up to the county, but some folks want to change that.
Let’s say a student brought a gun to school. Or perhaps, was caught with drugs.
Under the current system, they go to the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program.
But that is a very expensive education indeed.
The price tag for a GED through the Juvenile Justice program is about 15,000-dollars. That’s because for the $300,000 it costs the county, only an average of 20 students a year get their equivalency certificate.
Let’s say a student commits what is in the overall scheme of things, a relatively minor offense, but a judge says they have to be removed from class for 90 days.
Do you really want them to be sent to the juvenile Attention Center?
“You know, this year, we had 12 kids the whole year,” says Juvenile Services director Ross Worley, ”And an average daily attendance of four. And that’s 8 school districts. When you’re talking about taking on all this extra stuff, you’re going to take on 3 more kids a day.”
That’s why they have asked, and Representative Leo Berman has proposed, a change in the legislation that would put the burden of educating the problem kids back on TISD.
They of course, are facing funding issues of their own, but Worley feels it just isn’t the job of the juvenile justice system.
”The reality of it is it is a small number of kids,” Worley says, “and even when they are here, it’s ninety days, and they’re back. And so less than a semester and they are back on their regular campus anyhow. And we have to supply a certified teacher and teach all the core curriculum and maintain all the state requirements and that’s not cheap.”
TISD superintendent Randy Reid told reporters that he wasn’t consulted before the amendment was offered.
Someone is going to bear the cost, and it looks increasingly as if it’s going to fall to the schools.

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