BELTON — The Belton Independent School District will take in students from the Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center, after the charter school that once served those students did not renew its contract with the mental health services provider.
Officials from Cedar Crest, a center that provides mental and behavioral health care for children, adolescents and adults, confirmed that 18 to 24 children would be transported from the center’s Belton location to classes in the district’s schools.
“(The students) are in middle school and high school,” said Ingrid Whipple, Cedar Crest’s CEO. “They are receiving treatment at the Center and will be bused to their schools in (the Belton district).”
Until recently, the students were attending classes at the Trinity Charter School, which had one of its three campuses located at Cedar Crest in Belton. According to its website, Trinity’s schools serve youth with “severe emotional and/or behavioral difficulties” who have been placed in psychiatric hospitals or residential treatment centers.
The Cedar Crest campus served boys and girls with serious emotional and behavioral needs in grades kindergarten through second grade, according to Trinity’s website.
No new agreement
Whipple said the campus closed because Trinity’s lease for the campus was up and its contract to provide services for Cedar Crest was not renewed. Scott Carroll, a spokesman for Trinity, said the contract with Cedar Crest expired in the summer of 2011.
“During that time, we provided services in good faith while negotiating a new contract,” Carroll said. “We couldn’t come to an agreement. We both had different needs, so we discontinued providing the services.”
Carroll said Trinity would continue operating its two other campuses, located in Katy and Canyon Lake. According to records from the Texas Education Agency, Trinity is operating under an active charter, which will not expire until 2018.
Whipple said she was confident that the district would be able to meet the educational needs of the students.
“They have put in a lot of effort and BISD is committed to making this work,” she said.
Students start Monday
Whipple also said the district hired some of the staff from Trinity, providing some continuity for the students from Cedar Crest. Judy Owens, a spokeswoman for the Belton district, said BISD hired two teachers from Trinity.
The students will begin attending classes Monday. When asked if they would be placed in a traditional classroom or the district’s special education program, Owens said the students would be placed according to their educational needs.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.