Texas: $40 million for disabled students may not reach kids

Aug 17, 2017, Houston Chronicle: Glitch sparks concerns about fully funding new grant programs for kids with disabilities State lawmakers agreed to spend $40 million on school district programs for children with dyslexia and autism, but the Legislature botched the fine print in drafting the final version of the bill, and special education advocates worry the result could cut that check in half. After lawmakers spent much of the last year working to address shortcomings in the state's special education system, the governor Wednesday signed a bill to give $20 million in grants to prop up model programs for students with autism and $20 million in grants for students with dyslexia. But the wording in the bill could be construed in such a way that only $10 million would be distributed for programs focusing on each disability, potentially dwarfing the program that advocates say is already too small.... But here's the problem: the final wording of the law restricts the funding to the 2018-19 biennium, meaning the law only allows grant spending in the second year before the rest of the funding disappears…. For more than a decade, Texas denied tens of thousands of students from special needs services. A 2016 Houston Chronicle investigation found the state set an arbitrary limit on the number of students who could receive special education services, setting the cap at 8.5 percent, far below the near national average of 13 percent. ... In the 2015-16 school year, about 141,000 Texas public school students were identified as dyslexic and more than 47,500 students as autistic. ….