Feb 26, 2013 7:47 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Opposition To Changes in Special Edu. Funding

Parents of special education students are speaking out--many are upset with the state's proposed changes in special education funding.

As of now, funding for school districts is based on a flat rate...for example:

If a regular education student gets four thousand dollars in funding, the district receives 150 percent more funding for a special education student. That's 10 thousand dollars.

The money provides additional services and helps special education students learn in regular education classrooms. However this may change and could result in fewer dollars spent on special education funding.

First, it would be based on a student's disability. For example, a student with a mild disability would get less than someone with a more severe disability.

Second, funding for a district would be based on standardized testing. One argument that parents of special education students have is that you can't assess a special education child, solely on standardized testing.

And third, special education funding for a district will be based on where a child is placed. Special education students receive more money when they are placed in special education classes.

Many parents, like Alicia Fontenot, are concerned that these proposed changes could negatively affect their child's education. Fontenot's son Blaze is autistic.

"I want to ensure that Blaze receives the best services he can. Without these services I'm not sure where we would be today," Fontenot said.

Fontenot is concerned the state's proposed changes would decrease the amount of money that school districts receive, and there would be a decrease in assistance and services for students like her son.

"The districts may be forced to say Blaze will have to go back to a special education classroom to receive the services he needs because that is where he will get the most funding," Fontenot said.

Blaze is an honor roll student, largely because of several programs and assistance he receives with current funding.

"I don't want to have to make the decision of he either stays in regular education and doesn't receive services he gets, or have to put him in special education so that our district can afford to provide him the services he needs. That's segregation and we've worked so hard not to go backwards," Fontenot said.



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