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Seto to School Board: Consider Privatizing Teachers’ Aides

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Schools Superintendent Edward Seto.

For the third time in three years, schools Superintendent Edward Seto has suggested privatizing the district’s paraprofessionals.

Seto made his latest suggestion at the Board of Education’s Dec. 12 meeting.

The board will discuss the proposal at its Dec. 19 meeting, board president Julia Presley said in an email.

The district’s roughly 125 paraprofessionals – teacher’s aides – serve mainly special needs students, Seto said.

He said the district’s “budget realities” make privatization something that should be discussed “to be fiscally prudent and avoid any surprises.”

There was no comment from board members after Seto made his suggestion, presented during the “Superintendent’s Update” portion of the meeting.

He said privatization was a way to deal with costs associated with “unanticipated growth in enrollment numbers” of special education students.

“The fiscal realities evident last year will not change,” Seto told the board. Current employees could return next year, he said, with teh difference being that they would be employed by an outside agency., saving the district salary and benefit costs.

“I’m well-aware of how sensitive an issue this is,” he said.

Lorrie Mountainland, president of the Franklin Township Education Association, urged the board to “carefully consider what this action would have on the community at large, since many of the people who work here also live here.”

Seto said after the meeting that there was not enough time last year to make the proper preparations for privatization.

That’s why, he said, he brought the idea up now, when the 2014-2015 school year budget process is just beginning.

“It’s important that I find out now,” he said. “I need to know now” if the board wants to go forward with the proposal.

The board voted 4-3 on March 14 to not approve Seto’s original recommendation to privatize the paraprofessionals, following his announcement that he and Presley had agreed that the recommendation should be withdrawn, according to the meeting minutes.

 

 

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