Apr 13, 2023, News Center Maine: Special education preschools in Maine at risk https://www.newscentermaine.com/amp/article/news/education/maine-special-education-preschools-at-risk/97-272d20a4-34a7-4b27-8475-e53cddefd05f
“Any kid that's denied education over some funding is an injustice," a parent of a child enrolled at a special education preschool said.
In Maine, the need for child care is high, and when it comes to caring for children with special needs, finding appropriate care can be even harder.
That's why a group of providers and state lawmakers came together in Augusta on Thursday to introduce a bill to provide equitable funding to programs for kids with disabilities.
Currently, there are 24 special education preschools in Maine, and every one of them has a waitlist.
However, a lack of funding could lead to these types of preschools closing this year. Many families rely on these programs to provide the special care their children need….
The bill that lawmakers are proposing would help providers establish and provide payments of a daily rate for their education services.
The schools would be reimbursed the same way K-12 programs are, and it would be in place for the next school year.
"Any kid that's denied education over some funding is an injustice," Lippert said.
State representatives gathered to clarify the requirements for payments of tuition for children with disabilities by the Child Development Services, citing the burden that families and communities would face if programs were to go away.
“These providers who are providing these services because the state reimburse is so low, those providers have a waitlist so they are shrinking and closing their program, so that is what we are trying to avoid here, programs shrinking and going away," Rep. Drew Gattine said….
After the hearing, committee members will discuss the bill in the next few weeks before it goes to the House for votes.
Those who were present at the hearing believed that sharing their voice was the most important first step.