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Letter: Feels Hudson special education costs are too high

Published: February 13, 2013 12:00 AM

Recently Hudson City

Schools officials released data regarding the rate of use of, and costs of providing special education services. At the same time they, themselves, expressed concerns for the skyrocketing costs of special education services in Hudson Schools. Figures were compared with other relatively affluent districts in northern Summit County, but did not include data comparing Hudson to struggling districts such as Akron or Cleveland. The figures for Hudson, relative to other districts, are so radically out of proportion that I can only suspect one of the following: 1) There is something horribly wrong with Hudson water; 2) Hudson has an incredibly disadvantaged gene pool; 3) the programs are criminally mismanaged; or 4) parents are taking advantage of the system in order to obtain special privileges for their precious offspring.

In the absence of data supporting causes 1 through 3, I am most inclined to choose number 4. It is so ironic that a conservative community, self-reliant folks, who voted overwhelmingly for the party hell bent on repealing Obamacare, is so profoundly adept at stealth "taking" from the education system. If these numbers, especially the extraordinary change in just a few years, were characteristic of the Akron or Cleveland schools, there would be great indignation, beating of breasts, public outcries and complaints of the 47 percent who are "takers."

With all due respect to those children who are truly deserving of special programs, I believe the education system has run amok in Hudson. I feel like Sen. John McCain -- angrier by the day.

Carl J. Kotheimer, Hudson

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intheknow Mar 9, 2013 2:12 PM

Move away Carl if you don't like living in Hudson.

anonymous Feb 15, 2013 3:30 PM

Responding to Bob: The opinion is based on facts and figures published in Hudson Life. The Hub refused to reference the source of the figures. To those who have selected Hudson Schools based on their special education programs: Well, aren't you special since you can afford to live in Hudson, while others who will be equally in need will be unable to tap into that largess. As to the political inferences, they point out the hypocracy of the community as a whole who embraced overturn of The Affordable Care Act as a matter of ideology.

anonymous Feb 14, 2013 9:19 AM

The shame of this article, not only because the Hub published it, is that it appears the writer believes everything he reads in the newspaper and isn't dealing with facts, figures and data. The city of Hudson and its school district tries to accommodate everyone in the community, it's one of the strengths and benefits of living here. There are costs associated with this philosophy that we all need to acknowledge. However, ALL education costs are rising, not only special education. One strength of the school district is its special education program. We too moved here because of it. What the writer may not understand, and the district doesn't exactly share openly, is the amount of funding it gets for each special needs student, from the state and federal governments, in addition to the tax revenue it receives from our property taxes. What is also happening in the special education program is the hiring in recent years has been for younger, less experienced teachers, therapists and aides who get paid less than the more seasoned professionals, and where the district is working to try to contain the costs of the special education program as low as it possibly can without compromising quality of eduction and services. The writer is placing blame at the parent level, however, isn't he really complaining about the administration not managing its resources properly? I don't find that to be the case here either. The district doesn't hand out services to special needs children carelessly or where it does not have the funding to provide it. Most of us parents of special needs children have heard "NO" many, many times when we request services that may help our children develop better. It's a balancing act that this district spends much time working on with the parents. It has its flaws, nothing is perfect, but I do not believe there is the wreckless abuse the writer is blaming parents for. If wreckless abuse existed, it would be the administration not managing its resources, and, as a parent of a special needs child, I believe they are managing the resources available for special education fairly well. What this writer may have based his opinion on is an article that was put in the Hub about the rising cost of special education. Anyone who pays attention knows it probably was the district's subtle political way of starting to lay the groundwork for another levy. We'll deal with it. Hopefully we all can challenge one another and the leaders in the school district to be honest, transparent and deal with facts and figures. Lastly, one fact I haven't dug into yet, however, is worth mentioning when talking about levies and dealing with facts is that my real estate taxes from the previous levy actually went up $250/$100k of home value, not $150/$100k like we were told and what was communicated to us. Our home valuation did not change. My point is, we shouldn't always believe what you hear and read, we need to dig into the facts and data before we make up our mind or write a letter to the editor. Mr. Kotheimer, please talk with parents of special needs children and the school district administration and staff, gather real data and facts, before you believe the next article you read in the newspaper.

anonymous Feb 13, 2013 10:14 PM

Our family moved to Ohio in October of 2004. The reason we picked Hudson over any other town was because we researched the school systems in the greater Akron area and found it to be one of the best. Our youngest child has autism and the special education programs that they have at Hudson schools are the best. Did it ever occur to you that other families with children with disabilities also come to Hudson for this reason? I am quite happy to pay my taxes to support this school system. When my son started school here in the first grade no one outside of our family could understand him. Thanks to years of speech therapy and occupational therapy my child is a different kid with a much brighter future. I have the wonderful teachers of Hudson to thank for this. Shame on you for your mean-spirited letter. Be thankful that you have healthy kids that can breath on their own or walk on their own. Be thankful you never have to worry about how they will support themselves once you are gone. Be thankful that they never struggled in school because of learning disabilities. You owe every family who has a child in special education an apology. How dare you sir!

anonymous Feb 13, 2013 8:58 PM

Too bad -- this could have been a good letter had the writer not slipped into a rant about national politics in the second paragraph. Exteremely high special ed costs are one of the two reasons why Hudson school tax rates are the highest in Summit County (the other being that Hudson teacher salaries are among the highest in the state).