County Executive Leopold Announces Consolidation of Special Education Services
Annapolis, MD (January 2, 2007) - Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold announced today that the occupational therapy and physical therapy services for special education students in Anne Arundel County Public Schools will become part of the Anne Arundel County School System’s Special Education Program. School systems are federally mandated to provide certain occupational therapy and physical therapy services, which are educationally necessary. The program currently administered by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health will be transferred to the school system in the current school year.
"My decision to transfer the School Occupational and Physical Therapy Program to the school system is based on my legislative experience in successfully transferring a similar program, the Infants and Toddlers Program, to the Maryland State Department of Education," said County Executive Leopold. "I firmly believe that quality programs for children are most effective when educational systems are responsible for delivering education services."
Occupational and physical therapy services are delivered through the local school systems in most jurisdictions in the State of Maryland. The transfer in Anne Arundel County will involve 68 Department of Health staff who serve approximately 3,000 students with an annual budget slightly more than $4 million.
Health Officer Frances B. Phillips said, "I am pleased that therapy services will now be consolidated with other special education staff. The Department of Health will work closely with the school system to ensure a seamless transition for the special education students, their parents and the therapy staff. Continuity of support services is of utmost importance, and the services provided for the students and their parents will be strengthened by this move."
School Superintendent Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell applauded the announcement and said his staff is prepared to handle the move.
"The school system is ready to hit the ground running to make sure there is a smooth transition for our students, their families and staff," Dr. Maxwell said. "This is another opportunity for the Anne Arundel County School System to assure that a first-rate educational experience is offered to every student."