Planning for Special Education
By Charles K. Trainor
Political candidates spend lavishly on campaign advertising while public school systems in America continue to struggle with drastic budget cuts, rising enrollment, and teacher layoffs. Prior to the November elections, gubernatorial candidates appealed to tax-weary voters by suggesting the imposition of school tax caps. New York candidates actually competed with one another to endorse the lowest rate for a tax cap.
While such rhetoric makes great political theater, it demonstrates a keen lack of understanding regarding how public school budgets are burdened by the challenges regularly encountered during the fiscal year.
For example, unlike charter or private schools -- which set their own admission standards -- public schools must provide services for every child seeking education. This includes those with special needs. The financial impact of this mission is significant. Special education and its associated services are a big, expensive business.
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