The Beachwood Board of Education responded to parents and supporters of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consortium program about its future at Monday’s meeting.
The consortium, whose program is administered by Beachwood City Schools, is comprised of 29 school districts, including Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Twinsburg, Solon and Mayfield Heights.
Supporters have gathered over 400 signatures on a petition asking the board to form a task force to evaluate the future of the program after it was brought to light that the district is considering pulling out at program administrator.
“As arrogant as it sounds … we are frequently asked to do things by committee and we don’t want to have a paralysis by committee,” said Board President Mitch Luxemburg.
There is already a task force in place, he added, which is comprised of superintendents and pupil services directors from each of the 29 school districts in the consortium.
“This decision comes from 29 districts are we are just one of them,” said Luxemburg.
Beachwood City Schools is also arranging individual meetings with parents of each of the 25 students enrolled in the program, added Beachwood Director of Pupil Services Lauren Broderick.
The issue at hand is not the cost to Beachwood City School, the board added, but one issue, has been attributed to the high cost of the program to each student’s home district.
Board member Steve Rosen read a comment from the online petition asking the board for a task force that told the story of a child whose school district pulled him out of the consortium’s program after he had been in it for nine years because it could not pay the $50,000 annual tuition.
“We want to make it so that students in districts like Maple Heights don’t have to remove their children from the program,” added Rosen. “We want to see the consortium thrive, not wither.”
District administration has said that a proposal about what should be done to keep the program running should be made to the Board in the late fall.