School Board Problems

By: Jason Lanning
By: Jason Lanning

Parents of special education children speak out at Rockford’s school board meeting.

They say they're offended about a comment school board member Jay Nellis said last week, comparing special education funding to a rat hole.

Parents say the comment was out of line...but some board members say the statement about special education funding was taken out of context.

In any case, it sparked some heated debate about the current state of special education funding in the Rockford School District.

It was at times vocal confrontation, "This is my three-year-old daughter, who you say is in a rat hole,” says Rhonda Heflin.

Heflin responding to board member Jay Nellis's comments last week.

He said, "Giving money to the special education program is like throwing money into a rat hole."

Nellis says his comments we're taken out of context...and the current state of special education funding is reaching a critical situation.

"This wasn't meant to be malice, or hurtful, we all care about the special education program,” says Nellis.

"How can you say we support what he said, when you can't take the statement back. You can't say something like that, then support it because the program is having budget problems."

Over the past three years, special education funding in the Rockford School District has doubled. That's why board president Mike Williams is drafting a resolution and appointing a committee to solve the spending problem, making the school board and administrators responsible for fixing the special ed budget deficit.

But is the board acting responsibly to solve the problem.

Mike Williams appointed a two-member team to look at the situation, Jay Nellis and Stephanie Caltagerone, both being opposed by parents.


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