Parents fight to keep special education jobs

Posted: Apr 05, 2011 11:49 PM EDT Updated: Apr 08, 2011 6:11 PM EDT

By: Ashlea Kosikowski

Parents of children with special needs voiced their concerns over a plan that would cut dozens of special education jobs at a New Hanover County School Board meeting Tuesday night.

The district proposed cutting 60 positions, including 34 paraeducators.

Parents said paraeducators are critical; they essentially support special ed students in the classroom, helping them learn and stay focused.

The district noted that by slashing the jobs in special ed, they will save 2.3 million dollars.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the district voted to ask the county for $65-million, about $3 million more than their financial department recommended.

School Board Member Elizabeth Redenbaugh said the board is asking for more money in order to save some of those special ed positions.

The county has to approve providing the district with those funds.

The district should hear within the next two weeks how much funding they will get from the state.

Then, the finance department will be able to determine exactly how much money they’re working with for the next fiscal year.

The district’s budget won’t be finalized for another few months.

(LINK: http://www.wect.com/Global/story.asp?S=14391506)

IDEA MONEY WATCH comment: Parents in New Hanover need to ask:
- about the district’s “maintenance of effort” requirement! Cutting $2.3 million without a justification (as allowed by IDEA) jeopardizes the federal funding that the district receives.
- what the district did with approx. $5.4 million it received in IDEA Recovery Act funds.

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