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(Canada) Ontario govt puts $28M more into SPED; support for "autism and mental health needs"

Jan 18, 2019, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Sault Star: Tories boost special ed funding: spokesperson https://www.saultstar.com/news/local-news/tories-boost-special-ed-funding-spokesperson A change in how special education funding is allocated will benefit all school boards in the province, an Ontario Ministry of Education spokesperson says. Special incidence funding, for students with high needs, stood at $27,000 per student before the previous Liberal government announced last March the amount would climb to $38,000 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Last August, the new Progressive Conservative government told boards the special incidence funding would increase, but only to $27,405 per student, said MOE spokesperson Kayla Iafelice in an email. “However, this change would be offset by the reallocation of additional special education funding,” she said. “Our government understands that special education needs are complex and in order to ensure support for all special education students we refocused some of the 2018-19 investments in the special education grant.” Superintendent of business Chris Spina told trustees last Wednesday that Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board is getting $500,000 less in special incidence funding than anticipated from the provincial government for the 2018-2019 financial year. The English Catholic board is drawing cash from its reserves to make up for the revenue loss due to the smaller-than-expected increase in special incidence funding. Boards have to apply to get those dollars. “We were negatively affected after we’d done our budget,” Spina told The Sault Star on Friday. “We have a lot of SIP grants we applied (for) that (the funding reduction) hurt us.” HSCDSB is expected to get $11.27 million in special education grant funding, up $610,000 or 5.7 per cent compared to 2017-2018, Iafelice adds. Those dollars, she says, “support all students with special needs” including those with autism and mental health needs. The Ontario government put $28 million more in the special education per-pupil amount funding. From those extra dollars, HSCDSB gets an additional $63,753. HSCDSB is also getting $486,590 in new dollars this school year to hire a system autism adviser and three behaviour coaches. The cash also helped with psychological services and educational assistants. The multi-disciplinary supports amount was announced by the previous Liberal government in March. The dollar figure was not changed by the Tories, said Spina. “The ministry’s definitely put more money in special ed funding,” he said.