Indiana

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Special Education Service Providers Bracing For Sequestration Cuts

Students at a special education co-operative in Angola work to develop life skills.

The special education district that serves four school corporations in west central Indiana is bracing for automatic federal spending cuts, writes Sue Loughlin for the Terre Haute Tribune-Star:

Covered Bridge faces a possible 5.1-percent cut in its federal grant, or about $300,000, said Jeff Blake, executive director of Covered Bridge Special Education District.

In addition, the Vigo County School Corp. receives separate federal funding that goes to its general fund, also benefiting special education students.

Cuts to both sources of federal funding would add up to around 8 percent, Blake said. “That could have a tremendous impact,” Blake said. “I’m very concerned about it.”
For Covered Bridge, cuts would likely affect staffing, which is 90 percent of its budget. Covered Bridge has about 120 employees — administrators, teachers, aides, psychologists.

The Vigo County School Corp. employs even more special education staff, Blake said.

As we’ve written before, schools must provide special education services outlined in a student’s individual education plan. Those services are protected, and districts will likely have to continue paying for them even if the federal government reduces payments because of sequestration.

Indiana schools face a loss of about $12.4 million to special education services if the cuts kick in March 1.

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