Reverse Behavior Tech Furloughs at Monticello (Scranton School District)

Reverse Behavior Tech Furloughs at Monticello (Scranton School District)

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Monticello Teachers started this petition to Scranton School Board and

Scranton School District tax payers, families, and staff -

If you are not aware, the Scranton School Board quietly passed a plan for a “student services team” at Monticello at the Board Meeting on Monday, June 29th. This plan includes the furlough of six Behavior Techs (that is HALF of our Behavior Techs). The claim was made that this plan will benefit our students and reduce liability. It will do the EXACT opposite. The public, SSD families and taxpayers, and Monticello Behavior Techs, Teachers, and Para-professionals were given no advanced notice of this plan or vote, and were therefore unable to speak during the public comment portion of the board meeting to address our concerns. 

If you are not familiar with Monticello, we are a center based program that serves the highest need students in Emotional Support, Autistic Support, Multiple Disability Support, and Transitional Life Skills. Particularly in Emotional Support and Autistic Support, Monticello serves students from Scranton and surrounding local and regional districts with intense behavioral, emotional, and mental health needs, many of whom have experienced trauma. Our students are AMAZING and both need and deserve a program that supports their unique needs, which cannot be met in their home school or district. Our Behavior Techs are a vital component of this program.

Behavior Techs support our students from the moment they step foot on the school bus in the morning, throughout their entire school day, and until they step back off of the bus to go home. Behavior Techs provide emotional, behavioral, and academic support to our students, develop positive relationships with them, and serve as role models. Behavior Techs take part in deescalation and crisis intervention, keeping our students safe and teaching them vital skills they need to be successful in school and in life. Behavior Techs support classroom teachers and building administration in every way possible throughout the day. Again, they are vital.

Locally and nationwide, in public and private programs like Monticello, the best practice is for each classroom to have a support staff such as a Behavior Tech. It is the standard of operation, and there is a reason for that. This in-classroom, student facing, direct care role cannot be replaced by a BCBA, School Pyschologist, or Social Worker. While these additional roles approved by the Board would be a welcome addition to our program and help further our students' success, they are  in no way the same, interchangeable, or replacements for Behavior Techs.

**The Financial Aspect**

The Scranton School District is in Financial Recovery, and at first glance, it may appear the elimination of positions will save money. However, consider the following:

-Behavior Techs ride transportation. With six less Behavior Techs to do so, those extra duty positions will go to teachers, who will make $12 more per hour to ride buses than a Behavior Tech. At a low-average of two hours per transportation run per day, that means the district will pay an additional $25,920 per year to replace the six furloughed Behavior Techs with teachers. Keep in mind, this is given last year's busing numbers, that do not account for COVID-19 precautions, so the actual number will be higher. 

-Behavior Techs cover teacher lunch and preparation periods. If one teacher per day misses lunch and prep due to there being no available coverage, it will cost the district an additional $8,868 per year.

-Behavior Techs help cover classes when a teacher is out due to the ongoing sub shortage. Without a sub or a Behavior Tech present to cover a class, one teacher must combine two classes, and is then paid the sub rate of $90 per day. If this happens only one time on half of the days of school in a year, it will cost the district an additional $8,100. 

-Finally, Monticello saves and brings in money for the Scranton School District. Every Scranton student placed at Monticello has needs that cannot be met in their home school. If the Scranton School District did not have an in-district option for these students, they would need to pay for these students to attend another program, such as New Story or NHS, as well as to transport the students to and from these programs. Further, Monticello is an option for other local and regional districts that do not have appropriate placements for students within their own district. Currently, other school districts pay tuition to the Scranton School District for thirteen out of district students who attend Monticello. With the loss of half of our vital Behavior Techs, our capacity cannot continue to grow and provide placement for even more students from Scranton and beyond. 

**How You Can Help**

I am asking you to help make our voices heard to the Scranton School Board. Please, do what you can:

- Sign this petition 

- Share this petition on Facebook and other social media

- Email our school directors and respectfully ask them to reconsider furloughing six Behavior Techs at Monticello:

Katie Gilmartin - President ~ katie.gilmartin@ssdedu.org
Catherine Fox - Vice President ~ catherine.fox@ssdedu.org
Sarah Cruz - sarah.cruz@ssdedu.org
Michelle Dempsey - michelle.dempsey@ssdedu.org
Ro Hume - ro.hume@ssdedu.org
James Malloy - james.malloy@ssdedu.org
Sean McAndrew - sean.mcandrew@ssdedu.org
Gretchen Welby - gretchen.welby@ssdedu.org
Tara Yanni - tara.yanni@ssdedu.org

- E-mail our Pennsylvania Department of Education Appointed Financial Recovery Officer, Dr. Candis Finan, and urge her to further investigate the Behavior Tech Furloughs and the ramifications of this plan. The Doctor's email address is: cfinan21@verizon.net

- Watch the August 3rd Scranton School Board Meeting (live on the SSD You Tube Page) and consider speaking on this issue during public comment. To sign up to speak, e-mail School Board Secratary Virginia Orr at virginia.orr@ssdedu.org.

Thank you for your support!

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