Earnshaw said all school districts are required by law to provide special education services, but some do a better job than others, so parents look for districts that provide the highest-quality education.
The superintendent said other factors contributing to the increasing cost for special education are “tuition, some out-of-district placement, staffing and some programming needs.”
He said he will be lobbying the state legislature and the governor to say “we’ve had six years of no increase in state aid for special education. It’s starting to take its toll. They’ve really got to look at this. That’s got to be our number one lobbying effort.”
Seidenberger said school districts have “a covenant” to provide educational services for special ed students, but the legislature has to pick up on its responsibility, as does the federal government.
He said the district also is about $100,000 short so far on charter school tuition. “We’ve had more students enroll in cyber charter schools than we anticipated.”
Seidenberger said East Penn is not “in the red, but we’re paying attention to everything.”
Two new faces on board
Two new faces were among the nine board members Monday night.
In a special meeting on Nov. 11, the Rev. Waldemar Vinovskis was elected by the school board to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of board member Julian Stolz. Vinovskis will serve until December 2015. He is pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Lower Macungie Township.
On Dec. 3, Munson, a sociology professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, became the newest member of the school board, after winning in the November election. He was sworn in that night, along with re-elected board members Earnshaw, Fuller and Rebecca Heid. All will serve four-year terms.
Also at that Dec. 3 reorganization meeting, Earnshaw was elected the new board president, succeeding Ballard, and Ken Bacher was elected vice president.
Earnshaw has served 12 years on the board. He served two terms as president once before, from December 2008 till Dec. 2010. He also has served six years as board vice president.
The school board’s next meeting will be Jan. 13, where plans for the 2014 district budget will be presented.