WATERFORD — Following more than an hour’s discussion in closed session, members of the Waterford Graded School District Board voted unanimously Monday to remain in the area’s special education consortium.
“We want to work with the other districts, and there is a desire to continue that effort,” said Waterford Graded Superintendent Chris Joch.
Joch said that after consulting legal counsel and deliberating among members, the board concluded that the district’s current contract with the Waterford Special Education Cooperative has expired. The board voted to establish a new contract and remain in the consortium, which provides special education services to Waterford Graded and Waterford High School as well as the North Cape and Washington-Caldwell districts.
The board hopes to have the contract in place by May 31 of this year, Joch said, noting that if that isn’t possible, the district’s participation in the consortium will end on June 30, 2014.
Waterford Graded board members were considering dropping out of the consortium because it provides staff a health benefit plan with a lower employee contribution than their district’s plan. The consortium’s benefits are set by Waterford High School, another consortium member, because it is the group’s fiscal agent. Each of the participating districts employ their own special education teachers and assistants while the cooperative employs a special education director, an intervention specialist, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers and speech and language pathologists.
Joch said Waterford Graded is committed to remaining in the consortium. “We’d just like a new contract,” he said.
Speaking shortly after the vote Monday, Joch could not say in detail what the board would like the next contract to include.