Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Please oppose SB 1656

The Coalition for the Education of Exceptional Students (CEES) Opposes Efforts to Expand the McKay Voucher Program to Students who do not have Recognized Learning Disabilities or to Provide Any Share of ESE Guaranteed Funding to Students who do not Generate Any of that Funding.

Please oppose SB 1656 (Wise) during the Thursday morning Senate Education Committee Meeting

Senate Bill 1656 would provide an entitlement to McKay Vouchers to attend private schools including both a share of basic student funding and a portion of the ESE Guaranteed Allocation to students who have a 504 accommodation plan or who are Tier 3 in Response to Intervention Plan.

Based upon State and Federal Law, students with a 504 accommodation plan or those who are Tier 3 in Response to Intervention are not learning disabled.  They do not receive any extra state funding as a result of the accommodations provided.  They are not included as part of the workload estimates used by budget writers to establish the ESE Guaranteed Allocation.

Providing vouchers to these students and including a share of special funding generally designated for the costs of special services mandated by both state and federal law for students who are disabled will result in systematic underfunding for the services of those students with learning disabilities who remain in the public schools.

Trends nationally toward a Response to Intervention model for serving students who are having difficulties keeping up with academic and social requirements of the classroom but do not have an established learning disabilities was an intentional decision of state and federal policy makers to avoid over-identification of students as having a learning disability simply based upon the fact that they were behind.

CEES Requests Opposition to SB 1656 (Wise).

For more information contact Bob Cerra, CEES Information Specialist, at (850) 222-4428 or

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