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Cheektowaga, NY: More SPED students; parents rally for more funding

The Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) and a coalition of special education schools held a rally in Cheektowaga Friday demanding funding equity. The New York State budget will provide a 7-percent rate increase in Foundation Aid for public schools, however, it calls for only a 4-percent increase for schools that provide special education for children with development disabilities. Special education school leaders, teachers and families rallied at Aspire of WNY calling for fair and equal funding for children with special needs. Students of all ages, and with a variety of development disabilities, want the state budget department to hear their rallying cry for equal funding at their special education schools…. “Our students at Cantalician see at least one new staff member in their classroom every three months — that's unconscionable,” stated Christman says it's heartbreaking to watch staffers come and go because of low wages…. Davis says the number of children with development disabilities is rising, not decreasing. She credits Cantalician for their work as her “support team” and says they are like family to her. State Assembly woman Monica Wallace appeared at Friday’s rally in support of the schools and families. “To put them on par with every other kid in New York State,” Wallace noted. Wallace says the “money is there” and in the past it was on par with public school funding…. “This administration has worked to ensure all of New York’s students have the resources they need and has increased funding for special education providers by approximately $300 million over the last decade. The state is continuing those investments with an $85 million increase in providers’ funding, or 4% – tied for the largest reimbursement rate increase in more than 20 years – and providers don’t face all the same costs as school districts, such as transportation. Meanwhile, the state is also taking action to mitigate potential revenue losses for these providers that would otherwise result from pandemic-related 2020-21 and 2021-22 school year enrollment declines.” Freeman Klopott Press Officer New York State Division of the Budget


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