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Are Ohio schools robbing special education students?

"It just seems completely mind-blowing to me," said Jennifer Cohen, a policy analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based New America Foundation. She tracks stimulus spending on education.

"I think it's sneaky, and I know there are a lot of special education advocates out there who are upset about the implications."

The old idiom, “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” meaning to take money from one party to pay one’s debt to another, is often used in the context of politics. Shamefully, Central Ohio schools are using it to make their bottom line.

For instance, nine central Ohio districts are among the 113 statewide now diverting $22 million, said Jennifer Smith-Richards, from the Columbus Dispatch.

“It's hard to understand why districts would want to spend the money anywhere but on their disabled students,” said Margaret Burley, executive director of the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities.

"For years, the school districts said they had to take money away from general education to pay for all the services that children with special needs had to have," she said.

"Now, you have a stimulus bill that almost doubles what the district was getting. You would think they would spend all of that money on children with special needs.

Most disturbing, Burley said, are the implications that the spending reductions will have in the future.
To read the entire Smith-Richards article, go here.

If you have a question or a topic for Dr. Barrett to research and report on, please email Dr. Barrett

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