Florida – April 18, 2016 – A group charter school leaders from Palm Beach County joined the Florida Charter School Alliance and its Director of Government Relations, Ralph Arza, on a trip to Washington D.C. this week to meet with Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Carlos Curbelo, and the Office of Special Education for the US Department of Education to discuss the need for appropriate funding for all special needs students.
“The Palm Beach School district has unilaterally changed the distribution formula for the federally funded IDEA grant,” explains Arza. “Doing so will deny thousands of special need children the services that they desperately need and have been receiving historically. Our request to Congress and the House of Representatives is that they clarify to the U.S. Department of Education the legislative intent for proportional distribution of IDEA funds.”
The group that traveled to D.C. – including Gregory Hauptner, G-Star, Founder/CEO/CFO; Timothy Kilpatrick, Kids Community College; Liliana L. Salazar, Academica and National Director for Special Education and Student Support; and Tom Sutterfield, Learning Excellence Foundation of South Palm Beach County, Treasurer and Board Member – oppose their district’s proposed IDEA formula which dramatically cuts funding to ESE students. “Charter school students with special needs deserve proportionate funding — like their peers attending district-run schools – to ensure the delivery of services above and beyond the dollars that are allocated by the state and local school district,” continues Arza. “The charter school movement must stand in unison to fight this violation of the civil right of children with disabilities whose parents have chosen to send them to a public school of choice.”
“In my 23 years as a public school special education teacher, an elementary school assistant principal and principal, and a District Director for one of the largest school systems in the nation, it is unbelievable that the Palm Beach School District is choosing to violate 20 U.S.C 1413 (a) (5) where it ensures that children with disabilities attending charter schools are served in the same manner as it serves children with disabilities in its other schools,” explains Liliana L. Salazar.
The Florida Charter School Alliance, a non-profit statewide charter school association, is helping bring the IDEA issue to light and supporting efforts by charter schools in Palm Beach County to reverse the District’s decision.
Formed in 2010 by a group of educators, community leaders, and philanthropists, the Florida Charter School Alliance is a non-profit member-driven organization whose mission is to improve student achievement, promote parental choice by advocating for and collaborating with high-quality public charter schools.
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