Mundelein High may withdraw from special ed district
Mundelein High School officials may leave the regional organization that has handled special education services for many of its students.
The school board is set to vote Tuesday to withdraw from the Special Education District of Lake County, based in Gages Lake. The change would be effective July 1, 2018.
A recent building expansion and teacher hirings make the move possible, Mundelein High School District 120 Superintendent Kevin Myers said.
"We now have the space, staff and programs to bring our students back to their home school," Myers said.
Forty-six of Mundelein High's enrolled students actually attend classes in the special ed district's facilities or are in private schools for students with disabilities, Myers said. The total is expected to be 40 to 45 during the 2017-18 term, Myers said.
Word of Tuesday's vote -- scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. board meeting at the high school -- shocked Special Education District of Lake County Superintendent Thomas Moline.
He had been speaking with Mundelein High officials about the school ending its participation in transition programs for 18- to 21-year-olds that teach job skills, he said; he didn't expect them to seek a total withdrawal.
"(It's a) gigantic surprise," Moline said Monday.
Founded in 1960, the special education district serves about 1,300 students from 31 school districts. It has six specialized schools to handle a variety of educational needs.
The member schools cover tuition, maintenance costs, transportation fees and other expenses. They pay the special ed district 43 percent of the federal revenue they get for special education.
The special ed district was set to receive about $1.6 million from Mundelein High during the 2016-17 term, Myers said.
If the Mundelein High board approves the move, the decision would need approval from the Lake County regional school board.
Most schools that take their cases to the regional board are successful, Moline said, but not all of them.
For example, Grass Lake Elementary District 36's recent request was rejected by the regional board in March, Moline said.
If its request is granted, Mundelein High would be the first school to leave the consortium since Fox Lake Elementary District 114 did in July 2016.
Stevenson High School District 125, Kildeer-Countryside Elementary District 96 and Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103 withdrew together in 2015. They serve the same communities.
Barrington Unit District 220 split from the district in 1999, and Lake Zurich Unit District 95 withdrew in 2010.