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kids with special needs

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Community Schools has scored a victory in a fight to get more money for special education.

A state Education Department official is recommending changes to a funding formula that could mean tens of thousands of dollars in additional special education funding for the school district.  

District officials asked for a review of the current funding formula that the Genesee Intermediate School District uses to distribute funding for special education in the county. In the 2019-2020 school year, GISD distributed more than $3 million in special education funding.

children sitting on floor
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Derrick Lopez filed a formal complaint earlier this month with the Genesee Intermediate School District over special education funding.

Flint gets less money from the county compared to other districts, even though it has more kids who qualify for special education services. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint voters will decide in March if they will support a millage that will help eliminate their school district’s deficit.

On Wednesday night, the school board voted to put the millage on the ballot.    

School board members had a choice of what to ask Flint voters. They could ask for either a renewal of the district’s current sinking fund millage, which pays for things like roof repairs, or ask voters to support a deficit reduction bond and a smaller sinking fund. Board members opted for the latter. 

“Doing two things: number one, helping us to make sure we reduce our deficit more quickly. And to actually also keep our buildings safe,” says Superintendent Derrick Lopez.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint school district officials are putting off decisions on closing some district schools.

Flint Community Schools are facing a multi-million dollar deficit. Earlier this month, district officials floated a proposal to eliminate the debt, that included closing some schools in January.

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Michigan is the only state failing to meet enough special education requirements to need intervention, according to a recent evaluation by federal education officials.

The Department of Education breaks its annual evaluation on special education down into three categories: meets, needs assistance, needs intervention, and lastly “needs substantial intervention.” The state of Michigan spent the past four school years in the “needs assistance” category.

Ten years ago, two women from west Michigan started something called the "Best Prom Ever." They were Sparta High School special education teacher Renne Wyman, and a mother of one of her students, Rhonda Carlisle.

Fifteen students came to their first event. In April, 900 people attended the Best Prom Ever.

The basic idea is to give young people with disabilities the chance to socialize and dance in an environment that is safe and fun.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING - Auditors say the state was moderately effective in monitoring Michigan school districts to ensure they have effective special education programs.

  A state audit released last week says the Office of Special Education didn't flag students' noncompliance with annual goals and didn't ensure there were appropriate caseloads at four of seven audited school districts and charter schools.

User: lorenz kerscher / Wikipedia

Hunter Gandee will go for a walk this weekend.

That might not seem noteworthy. You might be planning on doing the same.

But starting Saturday morning, the 14-year-old from Temperance plans to walk 40 miles, from his home to the University of Michigan campus, carrying his 7-year-old brother, Braden, on his back the entire way.

Braden has cerebral palsy, and his walker doesn't move well on grass, sandy areas or in crowds.

Hunter isn't walking to raise money, but to focus attention on the problem of mobility for kids with special needs.

*Listen to our conversation with Hunter above.