For more than six hours a group of legislators, those in education and community members heard five presentations about special education topics in their first meeting studying the broader subject.
- To examine the diagnostic tools and assessments used to identify students in South Dakota schools in need of special education or special education and related services;
- To examine the disability categories that are rising at the greatest rate and review eligibility requirements;
- To review the funding levels of the disability categories;
- To examine the common costs associated with extraordinary cost fund applications, including out-of-district placements; and
- To develop recommendations to address the increasing costs of services.
“Solutions will be complex,” Sen. Jim Bolin, the committee’s Vice Chair, shared with his colleagues, adding that “multiple causes” to the rising number of students being placed in special education programs will require “multiple solutions.”
The multiple prongs of special education were reviewed for the group last Thursday (7/11) in Sioux Falls, with those in attendance hearing an overview of special education, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia and how to identify and support students with dyslexia and the state’s disability categories and eligibility requirements.
Sen. Bolin noted the group needed to give special education “a high priority as we seek to deal with these issues” but added that any solutions they found “must work within the constraints” of the state and federal dollars currently available, as there will not be a new funding source made available.
Committee members will reconvene on Tuesday, August 27 in Sioux Falls.
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