PLATTSBURGH — With many area schools returning special-education students to their districts for 2012-13, Champlain Valley Educational Services has begun making large staffing reductions for next fall.

By September, CVES anticipates it will have laid off the equivalent of 84.6 full-time employees this year from both its technical- and special-education divisions. 

These reductions are being made to administrative, teaching, teaching-assistant, clerical and support-staff positions, according to Dr. Rachel Rissetto, director of human resources.

”Most of them would be full-time employees, but a few are part time,” she said. 

Some of the staff reductions have already been approved, Rissetto said, while others were expected to be passed by the CVES Board this week.

The cuts mark the second round of major layoffs at the school in the past year. 

In June 2011, CVES eliminated 60 members of its staff, which, at the time, comprised about 380 employees.

FEWER SECTIONS

Champlain Valley Educational Services assists 17 school districts in Clinton, Essex, Warren and Washington counties by offering career and technical training and special-education services to their students. 

CVES Superintendent Craig King said the primary reason for the reductions is that enrollment, particularly in the Special Education Division, is expected to decrease next school year. 

”Sometimes districts will send students (to CVES), and sometimes they’ll offer programs themselves depending, certainly, on what works for them.”

CVES anticipates that special-education enrollment will be 38 percent less in 2012-13 than it is now. 

But while King said decreased enrollment will require fewer staff members and class sections, it will not affect the variety of programs and services offered at CVES.

”We’ve had layoffs, but we still offer the same amount of programs,” he said. “There are fewer sections that we are now offering.”

DAY TREATMENT

In addition, King said, CVES has two new prospective programs in the works that area school districts have expressed a need for. 

The first is the Day Treatment Program, which would serve students with severe mental-health disabilities who might otherwise be sent to residential placement facilities out of the area for schooling. 

”CVES has been working with the Office of Mental Health and the State (Education) Department to see if we could provide a program here, locally, in this community,” said Roxanne Pombrio, director of special education at the school.

”That way, students are able to be educated in their community and not sent away to various facilities out of state.”

Pombrio hopes to have the program in place midway through next school year.

”It’s at the proposal state, at this point, so we’re trying to make sure  that we have all the components and pieces that school districts need to have in place for programming for these students.”

JOB TARGET OFFERING

CVES is also planning the Job Target Program, a collaboration between the school’s technical and special-education divisions, that would allow students with special-education needs to receive training in fields such as food service and hospitality. 

“There’s a number of students who have had interest from our school districts to attend the trade classrooms; however, there’s a lot of rigor involved academically with these programs, so the school districts that we serve are requesting that we have a program that would have a more hands-on approach for the students,” Pombrio said. 

The Job Target Program, she said, could potentially be in place by the 2013-14 school year. 

“We see that some districts will educate some students themselves and are asking us to then look at these programs for the future,” King said. 

Email Ashleigh Livingston:

alivingston@pressrepublican.com

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