Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2013, 10:19 pm

UT board OK's Moline's plan to leave BHASED

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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

The United Township High School board voted Monday night to approve the Moline School District's request to leave the Black Hawk Area Special Education District.

The special education district includes 14 school districts in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties that share the cost of providing services to students with emotional, cognitive or physical disabilities. For decades, the Moline School District provided administration for the center; many of its teachers and staff are Moline district employees.

In December, the Moline-Coal Valley School District board approved a number of cost-saving measures, including leaving BHASED in the 2014-2015 school year. Leaving the special education district is expected to save Moline schools about $1 million, with Moline schools planning to care for its own students.

UT's vote Monday was 4-1, with Sue A. Ickes voting against the approval, Wendy Verschoore abstaining and Donald J. Sproul not present.

UT superintendent Jay Morrow said the special education district's bylaws require all members to vote on Moline's request. If any school district votes no, the matter will go before the Rock Island County Regional Board of School Trustees.

Mr. Morrow told UT's board Monday night that the Moline district gave proper notice and nothing in the BHASED bylaws gave a reason to reject the request.

UT board members on Monday also voted unanimously to conduct a consolidation study with most of the elementary districts whose students attend UT.

Mr. Morrow said the study will look at three possible scenarios: a joint elementary district, a combined district including United Township, or districts remaining independent with shared services.Each participating district will have to pay about $900 for the study, with the remaining $7,500 paid by the state.

The Hampton School District would not be part of a merger.That district's officials have expressed criticism of a possible merger.