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State decision will save Carmel-Clay Schools nearly $500,000 in 2012

by Patrick Bryant

Going into the 2012 fiscal year, which begins on Jan. 1, Carmel-Clay Schools, by state declaration, was expected to lose funding in order to support the Indiana Developmental Training Center (IDTC); however, it was determined by the state that CCS wouldn’t need to do so in 2012, Superintendent Jeff Swensson said.

“It holds off, or delays, any drain from our budget that would’ve otherwise occurred starting Jan. 1,” Swensson said.

The decision by the state will save the district anywhere from $400,000 to $500,000 in 2012, Swensson said.

According to its website, “IDTC is nationally recognized as a leader in providing intensive specialized residential treatment for children and young adults whose needs challenge us to find unique treatment solutions.”

According to Swensson, all those who go to IDTC are court-ordered to do so, usually as the result of having committed a crime caused by some sort of psychological problem.

Now according to state law, due to IDTC being located within the borders of CCS, it is the district’s responsibility to fund such an institution.  The district is working to get that law changed as of those who go to IDTC, not a single one is from Carmel.

“We obviously can’t control what the state does with their money,” Swensson said.

Despite that, Swensson said the district is working with state legislators in order to change the law so that districts from where the students at IDTC are from would be required to pay for that student’s attendance, not the district where the facility is.

According to CHS social worker Jane Wildman, a place like IDTC can provide for kids much more personalized treatment than a public school like Carmel can.

“(In terms of) counseling and social work, we don’t do therapy because it (consists of) more ongoing, intensive meetings on a regular basis,” Wildman said.  “We just can’t provide that intense of a relationship.  Time doesn’t permit that partly, but that’s not our role.”

Wildman said that she does check-in with different students who she said she believes to be “in crisis,” and she also said she makes referrals to those who she feels need that sort of assistance.  What she said places like IDTC can provide that Carmel could not is the medical staff and 24-hour care that such facilities would have.  Wildman said the technique of working with kids would be the same at IDTC as it is at CHS, but the difference rests in how frequent and intense such counseling is.

IDTC is a for-profit company, making profit off of what state funding goes unused.  Under state law, that state funding will come from what otherwise would have gone to CCS.  Swensson said it has been very difficult in communicating with IDTC in order to determine just how much IDTC really needs to educate children and how much goes into their profit margin.  Swensson said that although he is grateful that the state has delayed CCS’s funding of IDTC, he is still bothered by the fact that the district is forced to fund a for-profit organization which is home to students, none of which are from Carmel.

Swensson said, “Should a for-profit entity be making profit off the tax payers?  That part I’m concerned about.”

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