Critics Say CPS Cutting Special Ed Services to Save Money

A new report from the Better Government Association finds many parents of children with special needs say Chicago Public Schools has made it harder to access support services designed to help their children.

According to parents, teachers and disability rights advocates, CPS has changed protocols and effectively created a policy of “delay and deny” in order to save money.

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In the article published online Monday, reporter Katie Drews writes:

Facing a yawning deficit and special education spending this year of more than $923 million, or more than 15 percent of the district’s entire budget, CPS has enacted a number of new procedures and bureaucratic layers to the process for, according to the district, more accountability.

But critics, including dozens of teachers, administrators, parents and disability rights advocates, say the district’s changes to beef up requirements have led to inappropriate delays and reduced services for students who are among the most vulnerable children in the city.

“It’s delay and deny, delay and deny, delay and deny,” said Matt Cohen, an attorney who specializes in disability law and represents families contesting CPS. “It’s all about saving overall money and not doing what each child actually needs.”

Drews joins us to discuss the report’s findings.

Chicago Public Schools was invited to send a representative to give us their perspective on this story but declined. They did send a statement saying that: “CPS’s new policy for special education is simple: schools are required to schedule and fully fund Diverse Learners first, this ensures that all individual plans for special education students are met, helping their academic achievement improve alongside their classmates.”

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