Monday, March 18, 2013

Special Ed. and the Sequester

The Atlantic has an article here describing the probable result of the sequester education cuts on poor and special ed. students.  The cuts in funding will be severe.  According to the article:  "Localities are obligated by law to provide services to special education students, however the law is vague about the quality and amount of services."  I'm not sure where the Atlantic got its information from, but I'm sure it's wrong.

Districts aren’t just required to provide generic, loosely defined special ed. services.  Every special ed. child has an Individual Education Plan, that spells out exactly what services he is entitled to.   If the district is no longer receiving enough federal funding for these services, the district either has to make up the money from the local budget, or face a lawsuit by the parents.

There is already tension in many districts because so much local money is needed for special ed. students.  An out-of-district placement can easily cost over a hundred thousand a year, and much of that cost is already being borne by local districts.   These federal cuts will just exacerbate the problem.

With the rise in autism rates, school districts are being flooded with special ed. students.  And no one is saying these students don’t need the special services.  They do.  There just isn’t enough money, and now this sequester is turning what was a already a difficult issue into a horror show.

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