Children with special needs have, well, special needs.
for 30 years the state has had a seperate school system for the severely disabled and other children with behavioral issues.
Known as Regional Schools, they currently fall under the purview of the Department of Children and Families. And that, my friends, brings me to this blogpost because Kimberly Ricketts from DCF testified before the Assembly Budget Committee yesterday.
The issue of these regional schools dominated the hearing, which was ostensibly about next year’s budget.
As it turns out, there are 560 students in these 18 regional schools. They are all are scheduled to close just in time for the next school year forcing these students into the care of the local school districts.
Parents of these children are furious. They say the state is doing this hastily without a proper plan. They say school budgets have already been approved, and thses new students are going to cost additional money.
The state counters that it will save $4 million ( which by the way, is not whole heck of a lot in a $30 billion budget ).
Ricketts claims this plan has been in the works for more than ten years, and obviously they will not allow children to slip through the cracks. Everyone will have a place to go.
But it does raise questions about how prepared local districts are to handle an influx of new students who have previously needed a special kind of care.
Let’s hope someone has a plan because if there is one, the parents say “we haven’t heard it.”