The status and function of Indiana joint agreements used in joint service programs in special education

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Hecht, Lynn L. (Lynn Lee), 1946-
Snyder, Jack F.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The problem of the study was to:1. describe the status of each available Indiana special education joint school service agreement regarding the following demographic variables:a. number of participating school corporations b. average per-student assessed valuation of the participating corporationsc. total student population of the participating school corporationsd. total number of students served with special education services in the cooperativee. total geographical size of the cooperative in square miles2. describe the status of each available Indiana special education joint school service agreement regarding the following agreement provisions:a. authorityb. purpose, statementc. scoped. controle. administrationf. personnel, staffingg. student eligibility h. finance classroom facilities j. equipment, supplies k. transportationl. effective date, duration m. membership, withdrawal n. amendmerts o. execution3. provide an analysis of existing provisions regarding the nature of joint school service agreements in special education, and demographic variables of special education cooperatives, by comparing and contrasting common and unique factors.4. identify commonalities for use in future preparation of special education joint school service agreements. The population for the study consisted of 37 Directors of Indiana Special Education Cooperatives. This number represented 88 percent of the forty-two Indiana directors of special education.The research methodology used included: (1) an analysis of existing special education joint school service agreements; and, (2) development of a questionnaire. The purpose for analyzing existing joint school service agreements was to identify and compare provisions currently in use. A questionnaire was designed to discover attitudes directors of special education cooperatives held toward the provisions of their agreement, as well as the overall effectiveness of their agreement.The fifteen provision titles were taken from Indiana joint school service agreements and listed. Directors of cooperatives were then asked to indicate, with reference to their agreement, which provision either did not apply, was adequate, or, should be changed. If a desire for change was indicated, space was provided to give the director opportunity to express how change would be made, and why it was deemed desirable. A request for certain demographic variables was also included in the questionnaire, as was an opportunity for the director to rate the effectiveness of his overall joint school service agreement. Provisions of agreements were described in narrative form while the various approaches used to achieve those provisions were tabulated according to three sizes of each demographic variable. The expressed desire for change of a provision as well as overall agreement evaluations by the cooperative directors were also illustrated using the consistant table format.Each special education cooperative was identified according to the five demographic variables, and each variable was categorized as being "small," "medium," or "large." This was done by taking the total range of each variable and dividing it into three equal sections. The lowest one-third was termed "small," the middle one-third was termed "medium," and the highest one-third was termed "large."After an analysis of forty-one major findings the following general conclusions were made:1. Shorter agreements were favored by cooperatives desiring flexibility of programming.2. Longer agreements were favored by cooperatives desiring concise and explicit guidelines to follow.3. Provisions included in an agreement were added at the option of the members of the cooperative.4. Little legal criteria have been set concerning joint school service agreements.5. Legal authority had to be taken from a wide variety of sources in order to have an effective agreement.6. Many cooperative directors would prefer having a centralized organization structured under the Interlocal Act.7. Cooperatives prefer objective provisions concerning participating school corporations.8. Local participating corporations are concerned about retaining control for special education programs.9. Cooperative agreements reflect the philosophy and organizational structures of the individual participating corporations.10. Cooperatives could not strictly follow provisions included in agreements and hesitated to assume responsibilities not included in the agreements.11. Most directors believed that their agreement could be improved.The findings and conclusions of the study support the following recommendations:1. Minimal legal criteria for joint school service agreements should be established.2. Each cooperative should be required to respond in some manner to each of the fifteen provisions included in the study while drafting an agreement. Further, it is recommended that implied provisions found between the lines not be assumed or tolerated.3. Local corporations should have as much flexibility as possible to facilitate each of the fifteen minimal provisions, enabling consideration of resources, needs and interests of the local corporation.4. A more encompassing reference of authority should be obtained from legislation.5. A member of the Indiana Division of Special Education should monitor the agreements in terms of minimal requirements. It is further recommended that this official, or another, be given authority to terminate any variation between cooperative agreement and actual practice.6. A program of community relations should be established to inform participating school corporations concerning local special education objectives and available services.7. Alternative ways of establishing and administering joint school programs should be explored.8. Additional related research should be done. Suggested studies are: (1) the possible advantages of centralized organization under the Interlocal Act, Chapter 118, Acts of 1957; (2) the variety of administrative and/or control structures behind joint school service agreements; (3) various financial approaches to local funding of joint programs; and (4) attitudes of local corporations toward jointly programing for special education.A summary table was included to identify commonalities among the three sizes of the five demographic variables and the fifteen agreement provisions. Provisions most frequently used in each category were indicated, as were expressed desires by directors that provisions be changed.