budget-cutting-scissors-with-kis-not-cuts-logoWell we all are hearing about it in the news, on the radio, within our workplaces, and just about anywhere you go today you hear about the Sequestration. Now I do not claim to be an expert on the subject by no means but as a parent I have to express my concerns. As a parent of a special needs child those concerns grow into worry!

As of today my son, like so many others, is not receiving the support that they should outside of the school system. Families including myself either go into serious medical debt or the children go without. With the case of my son I do all his therapies ( the best I can) other than what he receives at school. OH sure insurance will cover it, but only a combined 30 hrs a YEAR. So we depend and the education system a lot to assist our children.

So now that this so-called sequestration has passed my concern is that we are going to start feeling the effects in our schools. In turn these effects are going to trickle down to our children. According to a recent article in Huffington Post ” Special-education students in particular would take a huge hit, with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding slated to lose $591 million over 10 years.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/sequester-special-education_n_2777090.html 

What is Sequestration?

Sequestration became law as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, and Congress’ failure to enact a $1.2 trillion balanced deficit reduction plan.

The law directed a bipartisan Congressional Committee to identify an additional $1.2 trillion in budgetary savings over ten years. The failure of the so-called “super committee” to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan triggered a “sequester”. To sequester means to set apart or to take something away until a debt has been repaid. In the context of funding federal programs, sequester means imminent, across-the-board cuts to most programs, both defense and nondefense

In addition to sequestration, the Budget Control Act established limits or caps on overall discretionary spending over the next 10 years, resulting in $1 trillion in additional budget cuts from current spending levels spread across defense and nondefense programs. ( adapted from National Association Of School Principals http://www.naesp.org/sequestration-resource-page )

Whether you want to admit or not our schools provide a lot for our children. From speech and language therapy to a series of evaluations. The are many children that receive a lot of augmented devices to assist with the learning. Either in the form of something digital or as simple as some writing aids. Either way these cuts that are going to happen are going to affect our children.

As a parent and citizen this concerns me greatly. Our children have so many needs, and those families are not going to be able to keep up. This is not fair to either the children or parents. Our government forgets that these kids have rights and one of those rights is education.

Now please keep in mind that if an IEP is written and those services and supports are written in the IEP schools must continue to provide the special education services that are outlined in a student’s individual education plan. Those services are protected by law, and districts will likely have to continue paying for them even if the federal government reduces payments because of sequestration. 

It is those NEW IEPs that will be the ones most likely to be effected. You need to keep this in mind if you have an IEP meeting coming up. Discuss this concern with your IEP team and ensure you understand everything that is or is not being cut from your childs IEP.  Remember you do not need to sign that IEP if you are not in an agreement.

So for example, you want a new augmentative device for communication for your child. The IEP team could say ” um sorry Mrs/Mr #@#@ we do not have the funds  to continue to provide that “service” due to the sequestration. The evaluations all show that the child needs that device and the child has had it on previous IEP’s. You will need to argue this with the Team. Now I know many of us have heard that there was not enough funds for something even with out the sequestration so I can only imagine how bad it is going to get. Remember your childs rights, and if you have any doubt that things are not going in the best interest of your child seek out an advocate that does know the law and the rights of our children as it relates to special education.

Like I said earlier, I can not speak as an expert on this subject, but if you want more information look to Google. Type in sequestration and special education and you will see a lot of information, blogs, and articles as it relates to it.

As a parent I am concerned about the future of my son’s education and the quality of education that he will receive. You should be as well and you must be that voice for your child! Educate yourself on the situation.

Good articles related:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/florida-sequestration-cuts-miami_n_2782425.html

http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20130225/POLITICSPOLICY/302250016/Florida-braces-dark-cloud-sequestration-cuts

http://stateimpact.npr.org/indiana/2013/02/28/special-education-service-providers-bracing-for-sequestration-cuts/

http://specialedpost.com/2013/02/28/the-effect-of-sequestration-on-special-education-students/

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