The possibility of running a two-tiered alternative education program was discussed further on Monday evening during the Warren County School District's Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Committee meeting.
"A one-size-fits-all program is not the way to go," said Amanda Hetrick, director of secondary education for the district.
The second tier of the program would be provided by Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems of Bradford, which would offer students an alternative facility to the in-house program provided by the district.
Students could be admitted to the current district program either through expulsion or based upon an internal process for various reasons including truancy issues, consistent behavioral issues, return from a placement at a psychiatric or juvenile facility or by recommendation of the hearing officer along with board expulsion for violations of the discipline code.
Students attending the Beacon Light facility would be students who violate discipline code by committing serious drug offenses, weapons violations or by threatening or precipitating serious bodily harm to other students. Students might also be expelled to the Beacon Light facility if they are unsuccessful in the district program.
According to Warren Area High School Assistant Principal Patty Hawley-Horner, the district is able to provide close to three hours a week in counseling, but with the addition of Beacon Light, counseling would be more intensive over the course of a week.
Added Hetrick, "They would be able to provide counseling in a different capacity than we can."
Board Member Jeff Locket questioned the weight the school board and district had in making appropriate decisions for the students.
"Are we the right group to address the root causes of these kids?" he asked.
Currently, there are 12 students enrolled in the program, costing the district about $167,000. If a contract was approved to include Beacon Light, an estimated $150,000 would be needed to implement the program which could serve up to 20 students in seventh through 12th grade.
Hetrick specified that a commitment needed to be made by December in order to secure a contract with Beacon Light as well as allocate the necessary funds in the 2010-2011 budget.
The item was forwarded to the Finance Committee, which was charged with looking at the financial impact of expanding the alternative education program.
In other business, the committee reviewed the opportunity for students to build and sell a modular home on district property in the lower parking lot near the Career Center.
"It's good (public relations) for the district and good experience for the kids," said District Superintendent Dr. Robert Terrill.
The estimated cost of the home is between $60,000 and $70,000 with a two- to three-year building period.
The home will be able to be transported once it is completed.
The project was also forwarded to the Finance Committee to examine the financial impact on the 2010-2011 budget.
Additionally, teachers and administrators from the district middle schools were on hand to offer feedback on the recently implemented middle school program. The majority of the response was positive, with many utilizing Power Point presentations to share pictures of various lessons.