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(UK) Yorkshire Council to cut millions from SPED; $7.2M (US) overspend

Feb 21, 2019, Harrogate [Yorkshire] Advertiser : North Yorkshire councillors agree to cut millions from high needs school budgets https://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/news/north-yorkshire-councillors-agree-to-cut-millions-from-high-needs-school-budgets-1-9608064 A series of drastic cuts which will see millions of pounds slashed or redistributed from schools for high needs students across North Yorkshire has been approved by the county authority. In an emotional full meeting of council, councillors heard appeals from both staff and parents tied to Harrogate's Grove Academy, one of the Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) which now faces an 83 per reduction to its funding, starting from April. … Councillor Geoff Webber (Lib Dem) moved the amendment to have the 50 per cent reduction in discretionary funding pushed back to April 2020, rather than this year, saying it was "unfair and impractical" to impose the change in the next five weeks. … The changes to the High Needs Budget are centred around a three-pronged approach by NYCC to claw back a £5.5m [$7.2M US] overspend due to Government underfunding. This includes the cutting of £2.7m of ‘discretionary’ funding of the High Needs budget. … The council says it will continue to pay its statutory funding at the ‘slightly reduced rate’ of £18,000 per pupil, [$24K US dollars] which it says will bring North Yorkshire’s PRS funding in line with the national average. … He also took aim at the councillors sitting on the council, who he said had "chosen to ignore the opinion of education professionals and of the public". "They have voted through rushed cuts to the Pupil Referral Service that will only widen the cracks in the education," he said. "This will increase the likelihood of our most vulnerable children falling out of schooling and into ill health, abuse and even criminality." … “What we are seeing now is unprecedented demand in two key areas of our work – looking after vulnerable adults and providing for children with higher needs. I'm grateful to our MPs who have taken up this cause, and for Ministers who have listened and provided extra funds this year," Coun Les said. …