Try your decoder ring on this cryptic missive to solve Mystery #3, Case of the Unknown Authorization:
Major Division Highlights and Anticipated Challenges [for the Department of Educational Services]:
– Expand programming and placement options for elementary age students with severe Emotional Behavioral Disability (EBD) and significant mental health needs. Budget & District Profile, page 79
When you break the MMSD’s crypt it means:
Create two new classrooms at Marquette Elementary for students with EBD;
Put two teachers, two aids, and a school psychologist in the two classrooms;
Spend a minimum of $350,000 on the classrooms.
A slick sleuth might ponder the source $350,000+ in the MMSD’s rare resources for a new program. Superintendent Rainwater has the answer: “The new program at Marquette was accomplished through a reallocation of funds within special education.”
And we guileless gumshoes believed that the MMSD had no money for new programs! At least, that’s what Superintendent Rainwater said in a Capital Times story which said:
In the early years of state controls, spending curbs could be managed by cutting overhead and administrative expenses, but they now are impacting directly on education. For example, the number of supplemental teachers deployed to help poor children has dropped from 54 to 24 people, he said. The controls also prevent any new programs from being developed. (emphasis added)
Now add insult to injury! On the official third Friday count of students, the $350,000 program had NO STUDENTS. That’s right! NO STUDENTS!
Which reinforces what this intrepid investigator suspected all along! The classrooms were hastily created by the MMSD administration without adequate consultation with district staff and the board of education. The planning should have been done and the students selected last winter and spring or done now for the program to begin in the second semester.
Put that $350,000 in your pipe and watch it go up in smoke, Sherlock.