OP-ED: 48 Years After the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Wisconsin Republicans Still Refuse to Invest in Wisconsin’s Special Education Programs

December 2 marks Special Education Day, the anniversary of our nation’s first federal special education bill being signed into law. It’s also a great reminder that our elected leaders have an obligation to ensure our schools’ special education programs have the funding and resources needed to excel.

Yet, due to legislative Republicans’ perpetual refusal to invest in our schools, last year saw the highest number of school referendums in two decades in Wisconsin – with many of the schools forced to put referendums on local ballots just to afford basic necessities.

Governor Tony Evers’ proposed budget for 2023-25 would have increased special education aid by $750 million, a move that would double the special education reimbursement rate for the next two years.

However, Republican legislators slashed more than 500 items from the governor’s budget, including proper funding for Wisconsin K-12 schools.

Even after legislative Democrats offered up budget amendments in the Senate and Assembly that would have increased special education funding – giving GOP legislators a second chance to reverse their bad decisions – they still refused.

We deserve better than the horrible choices made by state Republicans.

This Special Education Day and beyond, call your legislator at 1-800-362-9472 and demand they support fully funded public schools and special education programs in Wisconsin.

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