Home Haddonfield News Haddonfield BOE enters into contract with Bancroft

Haddonfield BOE enters into contract with Bancroft

The Haddonfield Board of Education entered into an agreement with Bancroft for 15 new applied behavioral analysis therapists for the 2012–2013 school year.

The decision to enter into the contract with Bancroft came two weeks after a meeting in which Bonni Rubin-Sugarman, director of special education in the district, recommended that the board investigate outsourcing the duties of the ABA therapists to Bancroft.

The ABA therapists work closely with special education students in the district in and out of the classroom, working with the students to integrate them into a class or to help them throughout the day.

The board of education approved the contract with Bancroft, which will run through July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. The contract will be for the amount of $657,236.

The current program costs of $752,923, Rubin-Sugarman said. This would result in a yearly savings of a little more than $95,680.

The contract will bring 15 trained and qualified ABA therapists into the district to work with the children, with designated ABA trained “floater substitutes” to ensure the continuation of service the program lacks right now, she said. Also, Bancroft will provide individual functional behavioral assessments and behavioral intervention plans for the students, completing these evaluations and attend meetings at no extra cost.

Board of Education President Steve Weinstein explained that the program needed more consistent service to be successful.

“As explained, the internal management of this important function of providing service became difficult as the program grew (in terms of number of students and number of therapists). The decision was made that better and more consistent service could be provided to our students and families by outsourcing to an entity experienced in this area,” he said.

The primary motivation for the change, Rubin-Sugarman said, is a long-standing problem with the program providing “continuity of service.” According to Rubin-Sugarman, as of May 1 eight out of the 15 therapists have been absent an average of 8.1 days, well over the employee average in the district.

More than half of the ABA therapists have already exceeded the district yearly average absence rate, she said, and two therapists resigned during the school year with little notice, causing disruption in service.

Currently the district does not have ABA trained substitute coverage, she said. When a therapist is out, a regular substitute is brought in to replace them for the day. This is not a trained ABA therapist, she said, so the remaining ABA therapists have to be moved around to different students during the day.

Despite a number of the currently employed ABA therapists again pleading their case to stay in the district, the board eventually approved the new contract.

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