Cash-strapped school districts are getting innovative, turning to public-private partnerships, vouchers and new training programs to help meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Educators in several states are working to keep kids with disabilities in public school classrooms, hoping to save money by limiting private placement costs. In New Jersey at least one school district is contracting with a private autism provider to bring highly qualified teachers into district classrooms to meet student needs within existing infrastructure. Meanwhile in California, special educators are undergoing mandated autism training in an effort to better serve a burgeoning school population.

At the same time an increasing number of states are taking a different tack to achieve similar cost savings. In Florida, Utah, Georgia, Oklahoma and a handful of other states, officials are looking to limit their financial obligations by reducing the number of special education students in public school classrooms. Voucher programs specifically designed for students with disabilities allow families to take the money that their school district would typically spend to educate a child and use that toward tuition at a private school.

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Parent reaction to the new programs appears mixed, with many taking a wait and see approach to the offerings, reports the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press. To read more click here.