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Special Educators On Edge As Cuts Loom

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Faced with the possibility of more funding cuts, a new survey finds special educators across the country are worried.

Already, 86 percent of special education directors say they are seeing increased caseloads, while most also report that services are less available for students with disabilities, according to a survey of more than 300 administrators conducted by the Council for Exceptional Children, a national group that lobbies on behalf of special educators.

And the situation may soon get worse. Under a budget deal last year, federal funding for special education and many other initiatives is expected to face an across-the-board cut of 8 percent starting in January 2013 under a process known as sequestration.

If the cuts go through as expected, the vast majority of special education administrators surveyed indicated that caseloads would increase further, funding for technology and other resources would decline and there would be greater strain on the availability of services for students.

“They are overwhelmed,” said CEC’s Lindsay Jones about the administrators surveyed. “Inevitably you are doing more with less and they are feeling the inherent stress with that and now they’re facing another 8 percent cut.”

The looming cuts come as school districts continue to feel the effects of deep declines in 2011 after an influx of stimulus spending came to a halt, Jones said.

If sequestration does go through as planned, CEC estimates that federal spending on special education will fall to 14.5 percent, the lowest rate seen since 2001. That’s significantly less than the full funding commitment of 40 percent that Congress made when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was enacted in 1975.

The impact on students would be dramatic, Jones said, because it would almost certainty lead to job cuts and fewer personnel in the classroom.

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. Rose Moore says:

    Parents have got to start using their insurance. Schools are not allowed to even ask you if you would. We as the families with Special Needs kids need to help our schools out. Check your insurance on this and even though you may have a cap in this area use it anyway….it is time to help our kids besides the schools. What also scares me is that the Inclusion into a general education environment is a problem when the General Education teachers are not well versed in how to teach a Special Needs kids. When you have 5 kids in a class with an IEP and you have 30 other kids, hoe in the world can they help special needs kids successfully.

  2. CJ Taylor says:

    Full funding commitment of 40%. Talk about an oxymoron.

  3. Kris says:

    I know I use my insurance for my disability daughter. and it does help alot. But when the child turns 21 the insurance won’t pay for anything anymore. maybe they need to change that. My daughter will turn 21 and the inurance told me they will not pay for my aides to come and help me anymore so I have to find another funding. And I’ve been raising her on my own for 20 years and believe me I had to fight all those years for her. It is getting harder when they get older. I need help with my daughter because she needs 24/7 care. I wont be able to do this on my own without my aides . the insurance needs to change on this. I mean how are the disability going to get help when no one wants to help them when they turn 21. These children STILL need the help. I had to fight for my daughter since she started school. Alot of these schools do not do much with these children they just want the money they get for them.. but i did fight for her, and I will still fight for her. that is sad that they are cutting from these children. I know the teacher my daughter has in high school, is not a good teacher at all. I actually had to fight and tell her what my daughter needed.

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