BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) – On Monday night parents showed up at the Harmony–Emge School District #175 board meeting to decide if new privatized special education classes will be allowed in their public schools. According to parents in the district sequel, the company who would run the kindergarten through 4th grade classes has a checkered past. Parents are also questioning how fast the issue was pushed through the district, how the funding for the classes is handled and the lack of funding for students already in the district. The board voted to start negotiations with sequel.
Parents Mark Bagby and Shannon Russell both spoke out on the issue.
“Why use sequel why now why can’t we use our own teachers and create our own curriculum. It’s a private company that would bring in other students from other districts and bus them in with various behavior and emotional disorders.” said Bagby.
“A lot of what’s driving this is the fear and stigma against mental illness people are afraid of what they don’t know or understand. All some kids need is a little more attention and guidance and mental health professionals who do this every day.” said Russell.
The separated classes would be held at Ellis Elementary. Parents also say that children with bi-polar, adhd, autism and other issues would be monitored there. Some parents believe that sequel has improved on past issues with their programs. There's no word on when negotiations will start, but officials say any contract would be posted to the schools.
Battle over privatized special education classes in Belleville the Harmony-EMGE district vote tonight at 9 pic.twitter.com/wHsbBryRBF
— Shawndrea Thomas (@ShawndreaThomas) July 28, 2015