This is my sixth year attending the Board of Education’s Budget Input Meeting. In the past, I have talked about budgeting for students with special needs as well as budgeting for the needs of highly abled students. I have most recently talked about budgeting for twice-exceptional students, to meet their academic needs for rigor/acceleration and their need for extra services, including special education services.
During each year’s budget cycle, I have tried to be respectful of and informed about the budget process. I have tried to be sensitive to the financial needs of all students, and I have tried to show you that it is not just about my two children but is about numbers of children in our school system who pattern similarly. At the same time, I’ve tried to be cognizant of the fact that there really is only so much money.
However, just because there is little money doesn’t mean that my children and children like them stop needing. Their needs are great:
- They need the misunderstandings about and prejudices against them to be abolished.
- They need school system staff and administration to be trained in appropriately educating them.
- They need appropriate programming, not making do with what is available.
I respect all the steps forward that I have seen in the past several years. I respect that despite being stretched so thin, you have tried not to sacrifice quality. I respect the analogy that though the pie is smaller, no pieces have been removed. But at what point are my children’s slices of that pie so small that they are crumbs with little power to sustain? It is not enough to say that no programs are to be cut; my children and children like them need the formation of different, appropriate programs.Maybe something will come of it. I really don't want to be "publicly inputting" the same comment for the next six years.
You have an unenviable job. To do it, I wish you could walk a mile in my shoes. I wish you could see the impact your decisions have on my children and children like them. Please budget for twice-exceptional students. Help them to reach their potential. It’s not just important; it’s vital.