As the Legislature’s Joint Finance budget Committee meets this Thursday, May 27, to determine the state’s education budget, The Arc Wisconsin, a leading statewide organization advocating for people with disabilities and families pleads for necessary support for students with disabilities.
Specifically, it is time for the state to be a better partner with local school districts and fund at least one-half of special education costs.
Wisconsin public schools educate nearly 855,000 students; among those students, 14% or about 102,350 have disabilities and qualify for special education services. Families of children with disabilities have been hit particularly hard in the pandemic as children have been more isolated and have lost skills and relationships.
In a recent Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations survey 3 in 4 parents reported skill regression in their children and anticipated a need for additional behavioral or mental health supports. These needs come on top of chronic underfunding of special education as costs rise and local districts struggle to fill in gaps left by the state’s lack of commitment.
The Arc Wisconsin along with key education stakeholder groups, disability advocacy organizations and families support the Governor’s proposal and the Department of Public Instruction’s original request to fund special education at 45% in year one of the next biennial budget, and 50% in the second year.
IF YOU SUPPORT INCREASED FUNDING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION, USE THIS ACTION ALERT TO LET OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS KNOW: