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Changes coming to preschool special education

Preschool special education services under Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities (LCDD) are expected to undergo changes one year sooner than initially anticipated by the agencies involved.

During its July 9 meeting, the LCDD Board eliminated 11 full-time positions and one full-time position was reduced to part-time in the preschool program operated by LCDD at the Early Childhood Center (ECC) in South Point.

The reduction in the work force is a result of lack of enrollment for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. LCDD notified local school districts in February of its intent to discontinue operating preschool beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

As a result, all of the remaining districts in the preschool collaboration — with the exception of South Point — decided to move forward with providing their own special education preschool services for this coming year. LCDD will continue to operate four special education preschool classrooms for South Point through the 2019-20 school year.

According to Julie Monroe, LCDD Superintendent, the decision to discontinue operation of the preschool program in 2020 was very difficult, but one that was necessary to assure as many people as possible receive services.

“LCDD is mandated to provide services to eligible individuals from birth throughout the life span, and services have become more expensive over the years,” said Monroe. “The board and I are dedicated to being the best stewards of tax dollars as possible, and considering our current budget deficit, and the public schools’ obligation to provide special education preschool services, we could not justify continuing to operate the preschool past next year.”