Special needs advocates look for Gov. Jindal to sign new funding bill

Special needs advocates look for Gov. Jindal to sign new funding bill

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - In spite of the success of charter schools in New Orleans, and across the state, many parents of special needs kids, say they feel left out.

Now, they are hoping that Governor Bobby Jindal signs a new law, that aims to correct funding problems which they say led to indifference by many charter schools.

Imagine you're the parent of a special needs child who can't get a school to take him in.

Jerrie Williams, who's son, has an asthma like condition, was rejected by two Baton Rouge area charter schools, who initially said, they would welcome him.

"I asked him why my son was denied the opportunity, and they said we just can't accommodate him because of the economic needs," said Williams. She says one of the schools has lost its charter.

It's a complaint that's been heard over and over again.

" I knew it was a form of discrimination for my son," said Williams.

Now, state lawmakers have approved Senate Bill 267 which provides schools with the money they need to teach students with special needs.

"That's what we' ve been advocating for three years is for schools to receive the amount of money based on the students they serve," said Shawn Fleming, with the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council.

The bill also requires charter schools to serve a special needs population equal to, or not less than 85% of the special needs population in its district.

"Everyone acknowledges that equity should occur," said Fleming.

A third element of the bill would send money to school systems that are serving a disproportionate number of special needs students.

"Orleans parish should have received $1.7 million more dollars than it did," said Fleming.

SB 267 is seen as a badly needed adjustment to state law.

"Right now he's been deprived of peer interaction, and schooled at a public library because of this," said Williams.

The bill now awaits Jindal's signature.

If Jindal doesn't sign or veto the special needs funding bill, it will become law, on July 1.

If so, changes in the way schools are funded, will go into effect for the fall semester.

FOX 8 reached out to Jindal's office for comment, but haven't heard back.

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