The name calling of those who criticize Spec. Ed. is typical and why we can never have a serious discussion about the expenditures.

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2008 at 3:24 pm

If you say one word that is critical, you are accused of “picking on the children.” We have a problem here in Ridgewood and it needs to be addressed without demonizing those who believe that it spending has gotten out of control.

The howls from parents are deafening when one suggests that maybe we should have alternatives to placing children in the mainstream of schools.

3balls Golf

  1. I agree SP. Ed is expensive but that’s just how it is. The other alternative is to force parents to file a law suit against the BOE to pay for a private school usually at 300% the cost of creating a local program in the public school. BTW the BOE NEVER wins these things and it creates a terrible burden on the families with children with special needs. I know because I fought the NYC BOE and it cost them dearly in the end, but it nearly killed me too. The only people that win really are the Lawyers, the so called “Parent Advocates” paralegals and way over priced private schools.So much money sucked away by the real vampires that should go to create quality programs. If money is being spent recklessly for SP.Ed I would like to hear more so it can be remedied, but unless you know what you are talking about and not just looking at the cost of giving children what they are ENTITLED to then “an appropriate good education” that may actually give them a chance in life and become taxpayers themselves one day. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it, just deal with it.

  2. How about vouchers… for all students.

  3. Parents of Children who do not have special needs should thank God that they don’t have to go through what the parents of special needs children do. It is easy to criticize or say the town is overspending when your child doesn’t need those extra services. Most parents, who don’t have children with special needs, don’t realize all the additional costs in hard dollars and time commitment that parents of special needs have to deal with. The school funded special needs programs help but most parents of special needs children typically have to pay out of pocket for additional outside services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, child psychologists, prescriptions and tons of health care costs not covered by the typical insurance plan. It may not be your problem, and you certainly don’t owe anything to the parents of special needs children, but what about just being human and being thankful that you were spared this additional weight that other parents have to deal with. Ask the parent of any special needs child if they would trade places and be happy to pay a bit extra in taxes for services their general-ed child will never need if they could remove the “special” label from their child and all that that entails. Believe me, special needs parents only wish their children did not need these extra services and programs. If your child doesn’t need these services you should feel like you won the lottery, count your blessings and help pay for the extra services with a smile on your face. It is the human thing to do.

  4. 4:44,

    If we “just deal with it,” it will soon overwhelm our budget. Every year it consumes a greater percentage of the general budget. It is a real problem that we must deal with.

    Putting it off to another day is not the solution. When do you propose we deal with it? When it consumes 35%, 40% of the budget?

    Do you have any idea what percentage it was for the fiscal 2008-2009 school year?

    Cottage Place, we know you read the blog. What’s the percentage this year?

  5. I have a mix of special needs and non-special needs in my family. The truth is that it’s more expensive to send sped kids out of district than to keep them in district.

    Some sped kids really do need a special program, but just because they’re getting shipped a half hour away doesn’t mean we’re not still paying for it. Sped is paid for by the sending district, not the receiving district.

    That’s true for all districts, not just Ridgewood. Special ed is simply a fact of life. There’s no getting away from it. Let’s remember that all the sped kids we DO see–because they’re in-district–are saving us money.

    We do need to be realistic, however, about sped expenditures. Just like everyone else, I don’t want my regular kids to miss out because too much is going to special ed.

    How about if us sped parents stop getting offended when non-sped parents express legitimate concern? Geesh.

  6. whats defines “special needs” ?

  7. First off let me say, I’m not offended or howling.Everyone should raise concerns about how their tax dollars are being spent and has the RESPONSIBILITY to insure not one cent is wasted. So you are right it must be dealt with in a responsible manner. However, certainly not at the expense of a child who really needs these services. If the budget is consumed by that much for SE then this town needs to get thinking seriously about sponsoring a private non-profit state / BOE approved school for these children that need the services. It’s worked very well in other places and I’m sure would cost a lot less in the long run. Problem is there is a terrible lack of them which the private “for profit” folks are only too happy to exploit and on average don’t do as good a job as a community initiated school. Having an Autistic son, I can tell you it’s a very rough ride at times not to mention one that has wiped any sort of financial goals I may have had earlier in my life, even before this whole market meltdown. But as an experience it’s made me a better, wiser person as it’s exposed some of the worst sorts of people you could find but has also exposed me to the best kinds of people. I would like to ask the person who said the “Regular Kids” are missing out to give me an example of this. I’m curious to know. I must say from what I’ve seen Ridgewood sure doesn’t short change any kids education especially relative to what would they would get in some of the other counties in NJ.

  8. I am all for addressing legitimate concerns and obviously our tax dollars should be spent wisely but in this blog post I haven’t seen any legitimate concerns – as yet. I see someone saying special ed parents howl and someone else saying they are easily offended. Most folks don’t understand the issues enough to express legitimate concerns. They hear from a neighbor that we are spending too much on special ed and then they start beating the drum. I attended a meeting last year regarding overcrowding (in certain grades) at Somerville where a parent suggested that all Ridgewood special ed children rotate from school to school based on whichever school had the most room that year. A couple folks actually agreed. Does it make sense to have the children who have the most issues and the hardest time adjusting and making friends to be moved from school to school each year to save money? That would be hard on any child. When I hear ridiculous comments like this I am going to get offended and I am going to howl. I won’t keep quiet for fear of being branded an oversensitive special-ed parent. I am more concerned with the welfare of my children than what other parents think. I am also not afraid to sign my name to my opinions.

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