Congressman Pete Stauber Meets With Duluth School Board To Discuss Special Education Challenges

DULUTH, Minn. – Special education needs in public schools have risen drastically over the years, not just in Minnesota, but nationally.

Congressman Pete Stauber sat down with the Duluth School Board to hear some of the special education challenges impacting our schools.

Funding to support special education needs was promised long ago by the federal government to help offset costs, but unfortunately getting enough money to the local level continues to be a challenge.

In 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Full Funding Act was passed.

The main purpose was to give the federal government the obligation to provide forty percent per student in funding to offset costs to support special education programming in public schools.

But Minnesota has only received about eight percent over the last five years.

This has caused Minnesota public schools like the Duluth School District to cover the rest.

“We are wanting, needing, and desiring to educate all students,” said Duluth School Board Chair Jill Lofald.

“Students that come to us that might have special education needs and are involved in our special education need, because we want to provide the best opportunity for them to have a fulfilling educational experience we are asking to have the federal government and state government to step up and fund the programs the way they promised,” Lofald continues.

Congressman Pete Stauber, who has a child with special needs, has been campaigning to get the federal government to make good on its promise.

He says conversations like these can put gentle pressure on this issue, which will eventually lead to results.

Congressman Stauber also says special education funding is one of many issues better served without the battle of government parties.

“It is critically important that we take this piece of legislation and understand its not one party or the other. It’s about the future,” said Congressman Stauber. “It’s about that 21st-century workforce for our kids. It’s about the technology and brings it into our schools so our kids can flourish.”

In the Duluth School District, many of the special education programs are understaffed due to limited funding.

Duluth School Board members are also concerned families who don’t qualify for the programming are being underserved.

They believe with adding funding more services can be introduced to help those families with special needs children.

The lack of federal funding and increased costs for special education is contributing to the Duluth Public School District to run out of its cash reserve.

Congressman Stauber is among those vowing to help speak with other government officials to help move this issue forward to bring in more federal funding for special education funding.

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