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CT: Serious shortage of SPED funding; 'explosion...of autism,anxiety in the last 10 years'

Aug 13, 2018, Norwich (CT) Bulletin: Expert proposes regional special education centers http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/20180813/expert-proposes-regional-special-education-centers School officials and political leaders from around Eastern Connecticut gathered at Norwich City Hall on Monday to share concerns and seek solutions on how to properly fund special education in community schools. Mayor Peter Nystrom hosted the second meeting of the Special Education Roundtable, which featured presentations from Mystic-based special education attorney Andrew Feinstein and Karen Weseliza, a representative from U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney’s (D-2nd District) office, to address shortages in special education funding statewide. Wesliza explained the federal government does not fund individual school districts — it funds states — and it is up to the state to properly disperse the funds to the school districts. “Bottom line, the state should be funding 40 percent of special education costs,” Weseliza said. “Currently, that funding is approximately 17 percent.”… "There has been an explosion in the occurrence of autism and anxiety in the last 10 years, while learning disabilities are in decline,” Feinstein said. “The system needs to be revamped so that money goes where it is needed.”… Norwich Superintendent Abby Dolliver said economic issues impact Norwich’s ability to fund special education, but that doesn’t remove the need to provide sufficient services. “We are a poor town with a lot of students with special needs,” Dolliver said. …