The Van Vleck ISD Board of Trustees agreed to an interlocal agreement with the Matagorda County Special Education Cooperative to offer special education services to the district during a special meeting Thursday night.
With approval, Van Vleck ISD agreed to be the fiscal agent for the cooperative, which means it will handle fiscal matters on behalf of the cooperative.
The cooperative used to include all five districts in Matagorda County – Bay City ISD, Van Vleck ISD, Tidehaven ISD, Palacios ISD and Matagorda ISD, but Van Vleck ISD Superintendent John O’Brien told the board that Bay City and Palacios have opted out of the cooperative with Matagorda and Tidehaven remaining in it with Van Vleck. Bay City ISD had acted as the fiscal agent for the cooperative in past years, but now Van Vleck ISD will take on that role.
“Moving forward it will become a three-school district (co-op),” O’Brien said. “The reason we co-op is for the combination or the collaboration of costs.”
O’Brien said that the special education services through the cooperative are something the district couldn’t offer on its own.
“So, to give our kids the same level of services they need for special education and for what the law requires us to do, we need a co-op,” he said.
Cost to the district with the new co-op will be about the same, O’Brien said. With fewer districts to serve, there will be fewer employees. The old co-op had 35 employees, he said. Specialists with the old co-op were later approved by the board to work for the new co-op.
Provisions are provided in the agreement with the other districts to make sure they pay the fair share of the costs involved with the cooperative.
The board later approved the hiring of Stacie Presley as the cooperative supervisor, a role she had with the other cooperative. School psychologist Crystal Sloan, speech language pathologist Amanda McKnight, speech language pathologist Courtney Romine, ARD facilitator Eileen Petrucha, inclusion specialist Stephanie O’Brien, ARD facilitator Heather Hales, occupational therapist assistant Paige Hyer, physical therapist assistant Amanda Foytik and data information specialist Brenda McDaniel, who were all employees of the old cooperative, were approved for employment for the new cooperative by the board.
The board voted 4-2 to purchase 1.262 acres at 0 South Highway of land through a quit claim deed from Elijah L. Middleton. Board members Bobbie Oncken and Donnie O’Connell voted against the purchase.
O’Brien said the district has been working on purchasing that property for the last three months and it has been surveyed. The vote gave permission to board president Tony Kucera Jr. to finalize the deal on the property. The district is purchasing the property for $38,500.