SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has ordered three day-care facilities to transfer students out after allegedly operating without state approval.
An ISBE news release shows that the three facilities are owned by Menta and function as therapeutic day schools for students with social-emotional disabilities.
The Menta facilities had applied for ISBE approval in the spring of 2023. However, none had received approval before serving and enrolling students.
After receiving a complaint, ISBE immediately began an investigation, and unannounced visits to the facilities followed. Investigators discovered “troubling” restraint and time-out practices at the Springfield and Centralia locations.
Furthermore, staff at the Springfield and LaSalle facilities did not match information submitted on applications. Nor did the facilities have the required contractual agreements with students’ school districts or required rates set by the Illinois Purchased Care Review Board.
“We are committed to protecting the safety, well-being, and educational rights of every student impacted by this company’s malfeasance,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders.
He continued, “It is egregious and unprecedented that the Menta Group would misrepresent its approval status to school districts and families and would put students’ safety and wellbeing at risk by operating unauthorized facilities. ISBE will do everything in our power to provide support to the school districts and families as they locate alternative placements for their students.”
Due to multiple violations and safety concerns, the facilities’ applications have been formally denied and they have been notified to cease operations as of Oct. 20.
In total, 125 students from 41 school districts were enrolled in the unapproved facilities. ISBE has scheduled meetings with the impacted districts to identify new education placements for impacted students.