Unit 5 – Because taxpayers need to know

By:  Diane Benjamin

I finally got around to looking at the Unit 5 spending.  This isn’t the only report that will be coming, it’s just the first definitive information.

Looking at the vendor payments, I saw many checks written to what appear to be out of district educations.  I’m not making a judgement calls, but taxpayers need to know where their money is spent.  Keep in mind, this is being done to comply with law.  Every student is entitled to an education, I don’t know how Unit 5 decides what education a student should have or how success is measured.  If you Google some of these schools, treating autism is mentioned frequently.

This was not an easy project.  The spending had to be pulled from past meeting minutes:  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=1000890    The FOIA request was filed on 12/30/2015, so the January information is not included.

I filed for the invoices and the number of students involved.  The dollar amounts I compiled.

Hope School  $185,870.36  September – November  7 Students  (Springfield)

Allendale  $30,015.97  October  1 Student (Lake Villa, Il)
 .
Specialized Ed of Illinois   $212,633.30  September – November  16 students
(Payments are sent to Pennsylvania, but it looks like personalized education here)
 .
Walter Lawson Children’s Home  $32,427.74  September – December  2 students  (Loves Park, Il)
.
Lincoln Prairie Behavior Health Center   $2,800.00  October – November  6 students  (Springfield-Homebound Tuition)
 .
Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School   $72,191.11  September – December  1 student (Chicago)
 .
Illinois School for the Deaf    $13,133.34  November – December  2 students (Jacksonville)
 .
Heartspring    $127,294.58  September – November  1 student (Wichita, Ks)
 .
Little City   $39,909.51  October – November  1 student  (Palatine, Il)
 .
That’s a total of  $716,275.91 just since September.
.
Take out Special Ed, the total is $503,642.61 for 21 students.  ($23,983 per student)
.
The district has around 13,600 students, with an operating budget of around $147 million.  That calculates to $10,809 per student.

 

12 thoughts on “Unit 5 – Because taxpayers need to know

  1. I have NOTHING against ANY child getting a quality education, and SOME of those places are familiar, as a friend of mine teaches children with autism, etc. it’s too bad SHE does NOT make that much, as it’s a thankless job. WHAT I do see here is a GREAT opportunity though! Since I.S.U. IS a teaching school, and the above are of school age, how come the Unit 5 dist and ISU don’t get together and offer courses for these students PLUS teaching for their students?? Everything would be local, the teachers are HERE, and the unit 5 dist. could then be CHARGING these fees instead of paying them, as I believe other school districts would be sending their students here, heck, IWU could ALSO get in on it what with their NURSING school. And I’m sure time, effort, resources and money would be saved ALL AROUND, or is this too simple?? It HAS to be cheaper then bussing children clear to Wichita!

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  2. We educate our children at home and have utilized the Chemistry Education majors to teach a home school Chemistry course. Win-Win. We get chemistry credit and they get a lab credit! The only cost to us were chemistry lab fees….VERY minimal…

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      1. Not trying to be rude, but screw you. I am one of “those” kids, and what those teachers do makes a difference in someones life. i have epilepsy. I normally have siezures every other day and you are probably a good person, but do you know what its like to go through that; to have to stay in the house all day every day. not to have a normal childhood do you know how much i’ve suffered, how much all of those kids have suffered, so have some decincy and live your live while you have it instead of logging on your computer, and shaming unit 5 for helping good kids. Why in heck would you bring her kids into that. If the person who posted this reads it, have some respect for the innocent and good kids around you if you want someone to blame, blame the president. I hope you regain that dignity.

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      2. Ok whoever said,”your kids will be MUCH better off” no offense, but that is so offensive on so many levels. if i am being rude I apoligize. Think about how that would feel to a person in one of those schools. It sounds to me as if we are nothing to this world as if we are not loved and charished like any other person. So excuze me for speaking up.
        Oh im julia as well.

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  3. Don’t forget to pull the transportation costs to get those students to those schools in your FOIA. They have to get there somehow. A school board member’s child is one of those students going out of district as well.

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  4. One student that I am aware of is bussed to Springfield everyday. The busdriver and the aide return to Normal and then return at the end of the day to pick up the student!!! A bit costly—bu it is a law to educate all—

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  5. Hi im julia and I’m one of “those” kids. I came across this article earlier today, and really I don’t know how any of you can just say good job diane (no I’m not a creepy stalker I saw her name). This is cruel, and I really honesty don’t know how you got this published. I get it you think we are a waist of time, there is no point in even helping us, because we are retarded. I have epilepsy. I usually have siezures every other day. It’s sad and I hope that any body who reads this can reclaim their dignity. Oh not about me, I mean you are arguing over the cost of transportation fees. If a child get’s to learn who cares what it costs. Its really pathetic what you said and why you said it. You can’t shame unit 5 for giving the absolute best care for a child. You can’t do that to anyone. If your doing it because it is a child with disabilities than i have EVERY reason to hate you. So if you see this, or anyone for that matter don’t sit on your couch and point people out for what they are doing wrong, live your live while you have it. I really truly hope you regain that dignity.

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  6. “How much of other people’s money are you entitled to?” Damn that’s cold. We’re talking about children with disabilities that a typical family and/or school district can’t provide for. We take care of people who need our help because it’s the humane thing to do.

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  7. I know the majority of these facilities. The students in these facilities are, with a couple exceptions, suffering from a serious mental illness or have multiple profound disabilities. These students would be quite expensive to educate in district- they would likely require a 1:1 aid, possibly a nurse aid (LPN or RN), along with therapists and other specialists. Plus you’d have the transportation costs to get several of these students from the nursing and psychiatric facilities they live in transported to the district…

    I’m being hyperbolic, but seriously. These kids aren’t placed in these facilities lightly. The school district is required to provide these children with an education or else they’d be sued.

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