To: Howard Stephenson, Brad Last, Steve Eliason, Stuart Adams, Joel Briscoe, Francis Gibson, Lyle Hillyard, Steve Handy, patjones, Mike Kennedy, David Lifferth, Mark Madsen, Carol Moss, Jim Nielson, Aaron Osmond, Kraig Powell, Daniel Thatcher, surquart,
Date: Tue Feb 26 06:39:58 MST 2013
Dear Members of the Legislative Appropriations Committee,
I am a retired special educator who still retains a passion for students with disabilities and their families. I understand that you are considering and establishing funding priorities, a daunting task given that the needs of the constitutents in our State always exceed the resources available. I am emailing to request that you prioritize the funding request for High Cost Special Education. During the 2011-12 school year 1,001 Utah children received special education services the cost of which exceeded $15,000 per student. The State sets aside $1,150,000 in federal funding each year (the amount that is allowable) to support a high Cost Risk Pool. An additional $225,000 of the Special Education-State Program provides support. These two funding sources provide reimbursement for only a fraction of the costs actually incurred by school districts and charter schools as they provide the educational services their students with the most significant needs require.
A definiton of community is " a social unit larger than a small village that shares common values". Hopefully, our community values appropriate educational opportunities for all of Utah's students. The students who require services that cost in excess of $15,000 per year are members of our community and need our support today. For a number of years, the request to increase the funding available to reimburse school districts and charter schools for these costs has not been successful. Please make this year different; make it a year that the voices of these students and their families are heard, understood and supported with the funds the students require and deserve.
Thank you for your consideration and the work that you do on behalf of all of your constituents.
1704 East Princeton Avenue
Salt Lake City, UT 84108