That's a telling and positive outcome; merely charging the school district actual costs of placing kids reduced the number of discretionary placements to zero. What's more, Tyler operated under that scenario for a full year with no ill effects, so to my mind that's a successful outcome that should be replicated. Indeed, give me my druthers and I'd like to see the Legislature require accurate calculation of JJAEP costs and insist that schools pay the full freight, relieving locals from such dilemmas.Prior to the 2007-08 school year, the county went from charging school districts $75 a day per student to place these "discretionary" students into the program to $203 a day per student - a cost superintendents have said they can't afford. County officials, though, have said that the county can charge the districts the actual costs for each student, and that rates have gone up considerably since they were last adjusted 10 or more years ago and it now costs $203.47 per day per student.School districts must pay for "discretionary" students, while the state pays for "mandatory" students that the program is required to accept by law.No new "discretionary" students were sent to the program this last school year after the higher cost was imposed.
Unfortunately, in Tyler the debate over what's best for kids is being suborned to goals of revenue maximization.
Boosting the length of stay for "mandatory" JJAEP placements just to increase revenue (to make up for loss of income from "discretionary" kids) amounts to throwing these youth under the bus for a few extra dollars.During Thursday's discussion, it was suggested that the juvenile board might be willing to agree to charge districts the daily rate of $125 per student if the districts would agree to place their "mandatory" students in the program for the maximum amount of 90 school days.The average for placing those students there has been 38 school days, officials said.
County Court at Law Judge Floyd Getz, a member of the juvenile board, said those "mandatory" placement students really ought to be in the program for 90 days. Officials also said the county will receive more money from the state if those students are placed there longer.
JJAEP funds shouldn't be distributed on a per-kid basis at all, IMO, because it creates a financial incentive for the county to maximize the number of kids sent there. But if Texas is going to operate them that way, school districts should pay the full freight, not just dump their costs and problem kids on the juvenile justice system. Accurately setting the price for discretionary JJAEP placements would go a long way toward reducing them.