We had the capacity to preserve the existence of a special needs school fundamentally akin to Giant Steps—one alike in its objectives, operations and outcomes and administered in the same tradition. Our own special needs program is similar in size and scope to what Giant Steps was. We are likewise 1:1 with a heavy emphasis on therapeutic services and a challenged population that includes those who are nonverbal. We have a strong management team who are overseeing the transition of staff and students to a new entity and are running operations while maintaining the same programming excellence.
While we had hoped to be able to purchase Giant Steps outright in order to operate it precisely as it was, Giant Steps quickly moved to cancel its school license as soon as it closed. Unfortunately, it also proved impossible to suitably purchase that property and Giant Steps school building in time to reopen in September. What we were left with as the best option for continuing the vital services Giant Steps children needed was to swiftly rebuild the program as faithfully as possible at a new location we could move into and open immediately.
That meant rehiring the Giant Steps staff and rebuilding the program—a task made easier by the fact that many of the staff were willing and able to commit to the new program at the new location.
Even so, as a new special education school, we cannot be put on the list of Approved Private Special Education Placements. We will, of course, apply to be accredited as soon as possible and expect to be after operating for a period of one year.
Until then, students placed at Hubbard enter into a settlement agreement with school districts in order to fund the placement and the associated transportation. We understand Excess Cost Relief from the State can be an issue for these school districts. Nevertheless, it was the case that for Giant Steps students there was no other appropriate program that can provide them with the services they need and are legally mandated to receive.