Special needs co-op dissolving, sending students back to home di - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Special needs co-op dissolving, sending students back to home districts

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Van Zandt County Co-op. Source: KLTV Staff. Van Zandt County Co-op. Source: KLTV Staff.
VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A special needs facility that serves five East Texas school districts is dissolving.  The Van Zandt County Co-op provided learning resources for students in the Edgewood, Fruitvale, Grand Saline, Canton and Martin's Mill school districts.

Most of the districts that are impacted say they're already making plans for the special needs students who relied on the co-op, but parents say they're still concerned about this partnership ending. According to parents of children who attend the co-op, the facility provides more resources than the students' home campuses do.

"This was great for him," says Terri Harvey. Harvey's 13-year-old son has attended the co-op for a year.

"He had the opportunity to go on field trips... where he couldn't before. He had the opportunity to socialize with other special needs children whereas in Grand Saline, he was alone," she explains.

The news that the co-op is dissolving came as a surprise.

"In fact, I found out about this through a cashier at Walmart ...that the school was closing. Everything that I've gotten has either been second or third hand," Harvey says.

Administrators at Edgewood ISD were not available to talk about why the co-op is dissolving, but other districts were. The Fruitvale superintendent explained that one of the districts pulled out of the co-op, which then impacted funding. She says, one-by-one districts decided it would be more cost effective to keep their special needs students on campus with other special education students.

Harvey says she has heard that Grand Saline and Edgewood ISDs will partner together so their students can continue to attend class in co-op building, but still, communication about the issue is minimal.

"No one has contacted me," adds Harvey.

Fruitvale and Martin's Mill ISDs say they are developing programs for their special needs students that will replace the co-op in the 2014-2015 school year. The Canton and Grand Saline School Districts had not returned our calls as of Thursday evening.

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