Special needs students increase: Seymour Community Schools seeing growth in funds to provide services


The number of students identified with special needs in Seymour Community Schools has grown by 250 students over the past five years.

That increase has resulted in nearly $800,000 more in state funding to provide services for students with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities.

According to the district’s Dec. 1, 2017, special education student count, there are 928 students receiving special education services. They generated $2,917,338 in state financial support for the rest of the school year and the first half of the 2018-19 school year. That’s 21 students and $142,238 more than the 2016-17 school year, said Mika Ahlbrand, special education director.

She credits the growth in special education numbers to the overall growth in the district and success in implementing effective practices to identify children with special needs early on.

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“We also see growth in students with special needs coming from other states and even out of the country,” she said.

Schools receive different levels of funding from the Indiana Department of Education based on categories.

There are three levels with Category 1 receiving the most, $8,800, per student. For Seymour Community School Corp., this category includes 138 students with vision or hearing impairments, autism and traumatic brain injuries.

Category 2 generates $2,300 per student and includes 563 students with learning disorders, mild and moderate cognitive disabilities and other health impairments and Category 3 receives $500 per student and includes 355 students with language or speech impairments. Preschool students generate $2,750 per student.

Emerson Elementary School saw the biggest increase in special education students, jumping from 53 in 2016-17 to 77 in 2017-18, an increase of 24 students.

Ahlbrand said she credits the school’s SOAR program for helping to identify and work with students who need more intensive services to meet their needs.

The district’s autism numbers increased by five students and have grown by 21 since 2013.

Seymour-Redding Elementary had the biggest loss of special education students going from 134 in 2016 to 117 in 2017, a decrease of 17 students. It’s the second year in a row Redding has seen a drop.

Ahlbrand said the decrease of 17 students at Redding is because there was a large number of students transitioning from elementary school to the middle school.

“Also, we have worked to provide programming at all of our elementary schools to keep those students in their least restrictive environment,” she said.

Only two schools, Margaret R. Brown Elementary and Redding experienced declines in their special education student counts. Cortland Elementary has had the same number of students identified with special needs, 15, for the past three years.

Seymour Community School Corp. also provides special education services to students attending non-public schools in the area. That number decreased by 27 students from 2016-17 to 84 in 2017-18.

That’s because three of the non-public schools are now providing special education services to their students.

“This is a relatively new option non-public schools have now,” Ahlbrand said.

Seymour Community School Corp. still provides all evaluation services, however, and continues to provide other services to many students at non-public schools, she added.

“I am very proud of our growth and the commitment that our school board, district and building level administrators have shown to providing services to meet the needs of all of our students,” Ahlbrand said.

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Seymour Community Schools special education enrollment









Non-Public Schools special education enrollment


Saint Ambrose;9;14;11;7;6




Head Start;3;5;6;3;3



Not assigned a state school;11;18;9;11;0

Seymour Community Schools special education enrollment and funding totals


Total Dec. 1 count;928;907;858;765;685

Total funding;$2,917,338;$2,775,100;$2,643,350;$2,344,706;$2,126,017


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