By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
TUSD hires consultant for special education program
Placeholder Image
In hopes of improving the special education program and reducing costs, the Turlock Unified School District hired the School Innovations and Advocacy, Inc. to be a consultant from Aug. 1 to June 30, 2010. TUSD trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to contract with SI & A.
The cost for the consulting company is about $22,900. District staff estimated the savings the program is going to initiate for the special education program at $1,041,750. Currently, TUSD pays about $20.9 million on the special education program every year.  
“This is a small amount of money to make sure we are spending the already $21 million on our special education program appropriately,” said Lori Decker, chief financial officer for the Turlock Unified School District.   
The consulting company will make sure TUSD is allocating the special education resources efficiently, said Frank Lima, board of trustees member.  The consultants will come in and assess the program to make sure the district is being cost efficient.  
“It’s not about the cost, it is about delivering the resources efficiently,” Lima said.  
Some of the services SI & A will be providing are data collection and analysis, report generation, professional development, and a board presentation. They will also be providing copies of the final reports to distribute to TUSD staff members.  
The hired company will look specifically at the special education program, Decker said. They will look at operations analysis, the services delivered, the use of resources, how to improve programs and if the program is compliant with the District’s new strategic plan.  
“This is in direct alignment with our Strategic Plan, which in part, is to deliver effective instruction that engages students to receive their individual potential and achievements,” said Superintendent Sonny Da Marto.
The District decided to hire an outside company for consulting because they are “experts in this area of education,” Decker said. “There was no one locally that could perform these tasks to better the special education program efficiently.”
TUSD is paying SI & A with federal stimulus money they received from the government. The money is not being taken from any other programs or the TUSD budget.     
“We thought this was the perfect time to take up this good opportunity,” Decker said.  
The TUSD is constantly looking to improve programs and they were especially interested in looking to improve the special education program, she said.  
“By entering into an agreement with School Innovations & Advocacy, the District hopes to maintain program integrity, while realizing cost savings to all students,” Da Marto said.  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.