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LogoEvanston Citizens for Appropriate Special Education (CASE) provides Community, Advocacy, Support and Education for families of students with special needs.


 

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Action Alert: Protect Special Education Funding in Evanston
Special Education funding in Evanston is at risk of serious cuts next year!
Write a letter or sign our Change.org petition -- see below


ISBE has unanimously approved a proposal to transfer $305.2 million in Special Education categorical funding to the General State Aid formula as part of state schools Superintendent Tony Smith's recommendations for state spending on public schools in 2016-17.

For Evanston schools, this would mean reallocating approximately $670,000 from special education budgets (ETHS $-216,046 and D65 $-457,267). http://www.chicagotribune.com/ct-school-district-funding-database-20160115-htmlstory.html
Given the overall budget crisis, this would be catastrophic. 
Even with this significant reduction in funding, Evanston schools would still be held legally responsible to maintain current programming levels and comply with IEP's.

The point of this proposal is to move special education money from high-income districts (along Chicago's north shore) and then reallocate the funds to poorly funded downstate school districts.

District 202 and District 65 need our support to protect special education resources!!

Sign our Change.org petition, click HERE
When given the opportunity to add personal comments, mention that you are a member of Evanston CASE along with any personal concerns you want to share.
PERSONAL LETTERS ARE THE MOST IMPACTFUL WAY TO PROMOTE ACTION.

Below is a letter template that you can send to your state legislators asking them to oppose ISBE's recommendation. It is more impactful if you add some of your personal concerns, suggestions in 
red below.  

Contact Legislators who represent Evanston --
contact information for letters/phone calls (LETTER TEMPLATE BELOW)

State Representative Laura Fine
1812 Waukegan Rd, Glenview, IL 60025
Phone: (847) 998-1717

State Representative Robyn Gabel
Address: 820 Davis St. Suite 103
Evanston, IL 60201
Phone: (847) 424-9898

State Senator Daniel Biss
Address: 3706 Dempster St., Evanston, IL 60201
Phone: (847) 568-1250

State Senator Heather Steans
Address: 5533 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: (773) 769-1717

State Representative Kelly Cassidy
Address: 5533 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: (773) 784-2002

Here is the letter content that you can copy and paste into your own email or letter:

Your name
Your address
Your state city and zip
 
Name of Senator/Representative
Address of Senator/Representative
City State and zip code of Senator/Representative
 
February XX, 2016
 
Dear Representative/Senator X,

I live in your district, and am a parent (or grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, therapist, teacher) of a student with special needs (or just a concerned taxpayer) who also lives in your district. I am contacting you to protest (express my dismay or shock or outrage at the prospect of) transferring $305.2 million in Special Education categorical funding to the General State Aid formula. 

(Insert some personal details about how lack of funding has affected you or how you are fearful that pulling money away from the district will result in reduction of services for your child. Some ideas: we moved to this area and suffer high real estate taxes to get better services for our disabled child; we have extraordinary medical expenses that deplete much of our income and we depend on the district to provide an appropriate education; my spouse is unemployed and could not supplement services that my child might lose; we are a one income household because, I must take care of my disabled child)

Mandated categorical funding for Special Education dates back many years, and was created to help offset the costs for services of special education students need beyond the per-pupil cost of a regular education student. The movement of categorical funds into the General State Aid formula will lead to a reduction of special education services, as it has in other states. The State of Illinois is tasked with providing high-quality educational opportunities for ALL students, including those of the greatest need and yet, the Illinois State Board of Education has recommended pushing the entire burden onto a few local school districts, which receive minimal return from the current General State Aid formula. These districts rely on money from the mandated categoricals to supplement local revenues to fund special education. 

If the items prescribed in each student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) cannot be met and/or if the IEP's of future disabled students are inappropriately limited due to lack of state funding, this will raise costly legal problems for the local school districts, as well as the State of Illinois. In addition, it sends the negative message that the State of Illinois does not make the education of it's disabled students a priority and their education is not worthy of protection. Failing to protect a disabled student's right to a free and appropriate public education is shortsighted, as it is a path to independence. If these disabled students are not educated now, they will certainly become more profoundly dependent on the State of Illinois in the future.
 
PLEASE protect children with disabilities in the State of Illinois and OPPOSE the Illinois State Board of Education's recommendation to move Special Education mandated categoricals into the General State Aid formula.
 
Respectfully, (or Sincerely or Very Truly Yours)
 
Your name