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Report: County truancy costs sink

October 19, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Thanks to a committee developed to address increasing truancy case costs and court time, Brown County Family Services (BCFS) has cut out-of-home placement costs by 90 percent since the 2007-2008 school year.

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Brown County commissioners will hear a report from Brown County Family Services Social Service Supervisor Tom Sandberg and Jefferson Elementary Counselor Katie Martens about how BCFS spent nearly $25,000 in out-of-home placement costs during the 2007-2008 school year on children with truancy issues and had eight children in the court system on truancy petitions.

At the time, a committee was formed to study the costs. Its members included representatives from school, law enforcement and social services. It developed and implemented a county-wide process dealing with truancy and education neglect.

During the 2010-2011 school year, BCFS spent less than $2,500 in out-of-home placement costs for children with truancy issues and had only three cases referred to court.

Commissioners will consider:

A waiver contract addendum with Enterprise North to add approved rates for a new Enterprise North Street site. According to the Request for Board Action , BCFS saw a need for a day program to accommodate the needs of high-behavior clients with a diagnosis of developmental disabilities, autism, or mental health that could not be served or only minimally-served in current day programs.

A local sales tax for transportation funding. The Governor's Finance Advisory Committee is discussing the use of a local sales tax to fund transportation projects.

Ideas being discussed include counties enacting local sales taxes to county transportation projects without a local referendum. Another idea is groups of counties with a road corridor like U.S. Highway 14 creating a Joint Powers Agreement to fund or help fund specific projects without a voter referendum.

The board meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners room of the Brown County Courthouse.



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