Board Passes Disputed Budget

Special
ed in city takes budget hit
Tribune
Ending months of passionate protests from students, parents and activists, the
Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved a $5.3 billion budget for the
next school year that eliminates hundreds of aides for children with special
needs and dozens of central office administrators.

Disabled students protest; board OKs budget Sun Times

Chicago School Board members Wednesday approved yet another

tax-to-the-max budget, despite a barrage of complaints that the system

was balancing its books "on the backs of special education students''

by slashing the jobs of 950 teachers and aides who work with disabled

kids.

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  • A little historical perspective may be in order, before anyone characterizes inclusion as the cause of the CPS budget cuts. Well before Corey H., when the first federal law providing a free appropriate education for students with disabilities was passed in the 1970s, the CPS provided minimal services almost exclusively in segregation. The fight for appropriate services for students with disabilities in the CPS was and has been a fight for services within multiple settings, including for services in separate and regular education classrooms.

    This was a fight in the 1970s that was led by people like Charlotte Des Jardins from the Family Resource Center on Disability who was still fighting yesterday. I represent Access Living and we advocate for inclusive education for all students with disabilities. We stand together with advocates for students with disabilities, who believe that for numerous students with disabilities a significant amount of separate education is required in order for these students to receive a free appropriate public education, in opposing the special education cuts being imposed by the CPS. The cuts attack both students who are being educated in largely separate situations and those being educated in highly inclusive situations.

    Yesterday, all advocates for students with disabilities in Chicago, many parents, many students with disabilities, adults with disabilities, the CTU, and the SEIU stood together to oppose these cuts. We will continue to stand together to oppose the Board of Education on this issue. I personally am honored to have worked with such wonderful people who have many different perspectives on special education to oppose the horrendous cuts which the Board of Education is imposing on students with disabilities. We at Access Living look forward to working with all of these groups and individuals to effectively educate students with disabilities in the CPS.

    Rod Estvan

    Access Living of Metro Chicago

  • I agree. As Case Manager, I had to pull at least two students out of general education and put them full time special education because of the refusal on the part of CPS to open aide positions. This is a direct violation of Corey H. because they were put into a more restrictive environment not because they couldn't handle it but because the support was not in place. In the long run, the Board will lose money because of the increase in law suits.

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