Tag Archives: Public Education

Education Funding – Revisiting SPC Episode 27

Education Funding

Every year it seems the news is full of stories with politicians calling either for cuts in education funding, or increases in education funding.

This year, however, cuts were attempted in special education funding. Thankfully, the Congress was able to work out a bill that increased funding for special education. Never the less, many are worried that this is just the beginning, and that more attempts like this will be coming.

A Possible Solution.

Back in 2015, the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA), which oversees nine school districts and four public service academies in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, put together a ballot initiative to raise taxes specifically to fund their regional special education programs for the next six years. Despite widespread sentiment among most people against raising taxes, the ballot initiative passed successfully.

John spoke to KRESA Superintendent Dave Campbell to talk about the initiative and how their combined districts were able to get the funding passed. Proving that taxes to fund education can be raised when parents, educators, administrators, taxpayers and voters work together to make sure the message is heard.

Why Listen Again?

The process of getting this ballot passed took a few years. However, the need is dire enough that understanding how to get an initiative like this passed is very important. If your school district is having budget problems, the KRESA Special Education Funding Initiative might be a great blueprint on how to protect your school’s special education funding.

Please note: the link to the news article on M-Live about the successful election may be expired, depending on when you see this post. Typically they are good for about two years after the posted date, which was two months before this episode was posted.

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Special Parents Confidential 51 Michigan Alliance For Families

Michigan Alliance For Families.

Find out how the Michigan Alliance For Families, and other similar organizations around the United States can help you negotiate special education services for free.

What Is The Michigan Alliance For Families?

Trying to get help with the special education process can be very difficult, and potentially expensive. There are dozens of advocacy service businesses and legal firms that specialize in handling IEPS for families. There are hundreds of books you can buy. Seminars you can attend. Personal counseling services. The list goes on.

But did you know that some of the best help for negotiating special education services is available for free from your own State government? Every State in America has what’s known as Parent Information and Training Centers that offer help in everything from early intervention, to writing an IEP, to legal support, transitioning issues, and beyond.

Free Is A Nice Price.

Here in Michigan, the Parent Center is called the Michigan Alliance For Families. They offer parent-mentors… these are parents of special needs children… who have been trained to coach other parents to work with schools and get the help that their children need.

Our guest for this episode is Kelly Orginski, who is the executive director of the Michigan Alliance For Families. She explains how the Michigan Alliance came together, how the parent-mentors are trained and work with families, and how they can help. She also talks about what parents can do to help themselves with the negotiations, and where to find help from similar organizations in other States.

Links Mentioned In This Podcast

Michigan Alliance For Families 

Center For Parent Information and Resources – National parent information center site.

Find Your Parent Center – Directory from the Parent Information and Resources website that links to all State Parent Information Centers.


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Special Parents Confidential Episode 12 – School Funding and Special Education

School Funding and Special Education.

For years we’ve been hearing that our public education system is in trouble. Budget cuts, mis-managed funding, over-paid staff, millions and millions of dollars wasted. Many people want to do away with public education. Their argument is that charter schools and private schools are the better choice. But what about special education? Where does special education fall in all of these budget problems and funding cutbacks?

Some parents and even some school advocates believe that special education is ‘protected’. That it is fully funded and will never be cut or eliminated. But is that true? Can special education or any kind of assistance for special needs children be cut or eliminated? Certainly the budgets for those teachers and assistants who work with special needs students have been cut. Could entire programs be eliminated? And if so, what kinds of special needs assistance or special education help are Charter Schools and Private Schools required to offer? You might be surprised and even shocked to learn what those schools are and are not required to provide.

Our guest for this episode has the answers to many of those questions and a lot more information on the nation-wide public education funding situation. Elizabeth Welch-Lykens is a labor law attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is an elected board member of her local school district, as well as a member of the district’s legislative committee that meets with state representatives in Lansing. She has first-hand knowledge of dealing with school district budget problems, and has spent time on these very issues. While some of what she talks about involves issues in Michigan, the fact is many states and school districts nation-wide are facing the exact same problems. And as Elizabeth verifies, these nation-wide education funding problems are not a coincidence, they are part of a planned effort to privatize the entire national education system for the benefit of a few corporate profiteers. This is an interview that every parent with kids in school, not just parents of special needs children, should hear.

Links mentioned in this podcast: 

For national based information on the school funding crisis visit Dianne Ravitch‘s blog site. She is a former assistant secretary of education under President George H. W. Bush, and a highly respected advocate of public education. Her site contains a lot of facts and information that disproves many of the theories claimed by those who want to shut down public education.

For information about what’s going on in the State of Michigan as well as local Michigan school districts, visit Michigan Parents For Schools

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