Lack of funding affects Michigan schools

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Twenty-one-year-old Tim Ashley loves his job.

“The job was fun, I like being at a job standing up walking a lot it’s better than being at a desk or a chair for eight hours,” he said.  

His mom, Nancy Ashley, never thought he’d be able to hold the job he has today.

“Our son Tim Ashley was born in 1996 and he was diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome,” Ashley said. 

Noonan syndrome affects his cognitive and physical abilities.

Nancy Ashley credits Tim’s success to the special education programs he receives attending high school, but a recent task force committee determined special education is underfunded by 700-million dollars.

It has many concerned about how not only special education, but education in general will be affected.  

“In East Lansing, we pull about eight percent of the special education fund from general ed to make sure our students with disabilities are receiving the appropriate services,” Lansing school director, Chris Chapman, said. 

The shortfall means local districts, like East Lansing, are taking from the school’s general fund to cover the services.

“That reduces funding available for extra programming for kids that don’t have a disability and it may reduce the pot of money available for teachers’ salaries and benefits so it reduces the general expenditure side,” Chapman said.     

Nancy Ashley said she can’t fathom thinking of taking education opportunities whether your special education or a regular student. 

She thinks being more vocal in the school district meetings and lobbying for change can be a start to ending the lack of funding for special education services.

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