The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) School Board unanimously approved Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins the authority to issue a letter of intent to withdraw its membership from the Hancock Madison Shelby Education Services, otherwise known as HMSES. HMSES is a special education interlocal that services school districts from three different counties in East Central Indiana and is the same special education interlocal that Greenfield-Central schools withdrew from beginning this school year. HMSES provides a variety of special education programs and services.
With students at the forefront, the MVCSC Administration believes having complete control over staffing needs and salary schedules to meet the programming requirements of all students is essential. Dr. Robbins stated that he believed programming at MVCSC can be expanded by eliminating the redundancy of services that currently exists. There is a substantial amount of operational redundancy that exists for MVCSC within the HMSES agreement. Part of the existing financial agreement with HMSES includes charges for payroll (most of Mt. Vernon special needs’ staff is paid through HMSES), office support staff, nursing services, facility payments, costs associated with capital projects, as well as other areas. MVCSC currently maintains all of these operational expenditures for their own local operational needs, therefore absorbing these expenses would not be a challenge. Another consideration in the decision was the fact that the special education students are already located at Mt. Vernon facilities. Before Greenfield Central’s withdraw, essential skills students traveled to Greenfield to receive services. With Greenfield Central's withdraw this past summer, Mt. Vernon was required to complete a renovation project to house this group of students locally.
Superintendent Dr. Robbins states, “We are a much different school system than when we originally joined the interlocal. We have grown and now have the facilities and operational capability to independently meet the needs of our special education students. HMSES has been a great organization to work with and has served our students well, and we thank them for their partnership. In providing the long-term programming for our special needs students, we believe we can not only continue to provide top-quality services in preparing our special needs students for the future, but expand upon those services.”
One financial model indicates that based on the current number of students and staffing, MVCSC could save $350,000 per year. Students and parents will not know any difference in services. Students will remain at the same Mt. Vernon facilities and special education programming will continue under MVCSC’s direction.
The future is bright for expansion possibilities. A hope is to expand the MVCSC Administrative Service Center to include a transition program. A Transition Program is designed to “teach work” to special education students, age 18-22, and to support their growth into adulthood. Transition Program activities take place in the community – at work sites and other locations – with the goal of helping students acquire the skills to secure and maintain employment after they leave school.