While closing schools and cutting sports has been taken off the chopping block, the board is still working on ways to trim $23 million from the budget. One area still in the mix is special education.
The board asked special education administrators to make two rounds of cuts totaling over five million dollars. If those cuts pass parents and educators say the children and teachers safety is at risk.
Students at Page Park School have a wide variety of disabilities from autism to quadriplegics. In any given day aides are pulled away about four times a day to deal with behavior issues. Page Park Principal Nancy Adamany says some students can be quite aggressive and about four to five aides are needed in non-violent interventions. That means less help in the classroom. Currently, Principal Nancy Adamany has 35 aides to assist teachers, if the proposed cuts are approved there would only be 19. Adamany says that would jeopardize students and staff's safety.
Two mothers at Fairview School have been at work all weekend making calls and passing out flyers all for the sake of their children who have autism. They worry that their child's IEP, or state mandated goals to educate those with disabilities, will not be met.
A group of parent advocates plan to address the board about these proposed special education cuts at Tuesday night's meeting. They're asking that anyone who wants to join in their fight meet at 6:30 p.m. at the board office for a rally before the meeting at 7 p.m.