Every spring, too many town meetings have become battle zones over the rising cost of special education. And yet Governor Deval Patrick last week cut state aid for special education — by $11.5 million or 5 percent. The Governor cut special education funding $96 million, or 42%, in FY 09 and this year was the first in which the funding was restored – until last week’s cut. What is the message that the cut sends to school districts and families?
Between 2001 and 2010, special education costs in Massachusetts increased 57 percent, compared to 42 percent for all public education. School budgets are being stretched and families of children with disabilities are being blamed for taking more than their fair share of the school budget. What is little known, however, is that costs are increasing due to a significant increase in the number of children with severe disabilities who require costly services.