News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 23, 2012

School consolidation poses questions for Covered Bridge

Tribune-Star staff report

PARKE COUNTY — The reorganization of Rockville and Turkey Run school districts has prompted officials at Covered Bridge Special Education District to seek a legal opinion.

Rockville is one of four districts served by Covered Bridge, but Turkey Run is served by the West Central Indiana Special Education Cooperative out of Crawfordsvile.  

Jeff Blake, Covered Bridge executive director, told the Covered Bridge board on Tuesday he will seek a legal opinion from the Indianapolis law firm of Bose, McKinney and Evans “on what the process would be if we add or lose a district.”

Covered Bridge has a contractual agreement with Rockville Community School Corp. and will continue to serve its special education students through the end of 2013.

The newly reorganized district, North Central Parke Community School Corp., takes effect Jan. 1.

Dan Tanoos, president of the Covered Bridge board and also Vigo County schools superintendent, asked Blake to set up a meeting involving Covered Bridge representatives and representatives of both the Rockville and Turkey Run districts.

Tom Rohr, superintendent of Turkey Run’s district, is expected to be named superintendent of the newly reorganized district Jan. 1.

Turkey Run also has an agreement with its special education cooperative that will extend at least another year and possibly longer, Rohr said Wednesday.

“We really haven’t even looked at that yet,” he said. It’s a decision “that can be put on the backburner” for now.

Special education services for students in the two districts will not change in the meantime, he said.

In the future, “We’ll see what the possibilities are and the best way to meet all the needs of our students, and then we’ll make a decision,” Rohr said.

The Covered Bridge Board also approved a letter of agreement with Hamilton Center, which will provide counseling services for Vigo County School Corp. students who are designated emotionally handicapped or who have behavioral problems and are receiving other special educational services, according to the agreement.

Covered Bridge will pay Hamilton Center up to $60 per hour of service, with some of the children covered by Medicaid or insurance.