Special education on the list of legislative proposals - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Special education on the list of legislative proposals

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Parents of special needs children want more choices. Special education has caught the attention of lawmakers this session. As usual, they all have different versions of how they'd like to help fix the problem.

Mandy Rogers had two sons. Nate was first-born. They soon learned about his long list of special needs. His brother Ben has nearly the same list. 

"Intellectual disability, hearing impaired, speech language impaired, seizure disorder and attention deficit disorder," said Rogers.

Nate died a couple of years ago. But the challenges they faced surrounding his education are things Rogers hopes others won't have to deal with.

"We had to go through a lot of legal battles and that just took an emotional toll," explained Rogers. "It was like riding a roller coaster."

Rogers is sticking close to the Capitol as lawmakers consider a list of special education bills. The Senate education committee passed a bill Tuesday that would provide scholarship money to parents. It would allow them to find the school that best fits the kid's needs.

"If you ask families who are having to pay tuition to like special purpose schools, $6,500 or $7,000," she said "That helps a lot."

A similar bill failed last year. Supporters of one House Bill say it's an alternative to that. It would create a separate special needs fund.

"This would be for more than just a select number of students," noted Wendy Rogers, Stone County School District Special Education Director. "This certainly would not privatize education. This is for public school's use."

Representatives Cecil Brown and David Baria say money's not the only problem. Parents told them they need legal advice as they seek special ed services.

"The ones who remain in the public school system, have their children in the public school system, are still going to need adequate representation," explained Brown.

There's still a long way to go for all of these proposals. Last year the voucher bill got kick-back from lawmakers who thought those dollars should stay in public education.

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