TIOGA — Tioga Central Superintendent Dr. David Hamilton on Wednesday warned the school board of challenges that lay ahead in terms of staffing thanks to changes to the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) — the federal law that replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

According to Hamilton, special education teachers in grades seven through 12 had previously been allowed to teach students with disabilities in any subject area without needing to hold a special certification in English language arts (ELA), math, science or social studies.

However, effective July 1, all certified special education teachers who teach one or more subject areas in a special class in those grades will be required to either:

• Be certified in each subject area that they teach.

• Meet the teaching experience requirement for the statement of continued eligibility, which is three years.

Hamilton explained that the new requirements mean that the district will likely have to hire more special education teachers.

“This is a significant change that will impact our budget and programs for the next school year, but we are confident that we have the resources and skills to navigate a pathway for our students that will be effective,” he said.

Hamilton also touched on the development of the district’s budget for the 2020-2021 school year, noting that the district’s tax cap is expected to be approximately 0.89 percent — although that figure is not yet solidified.

“With the need to fill many positions due to retirements, it is going to be a busy recruitment season this spring,” he said. “We are already starting interviews to try to get a head start on other districts in competition for the best talent.”

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 232 or jwilliams@morning-times.com. Follow Johnny Williams on Twitter @johnnywMT

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