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Pictured: Jerry Mogul, MAC executive director, providing welcoming remarks to a full room of legislators and staff, advocates, and parents

 

MAC hosts Special Education Circuit Breaker Briefing at State House

Massachusetts Advocates for Children, in partnership with the Massachusetts Coalition for Special Education Funding, hosted a Special Education Circuit Breaker briefing on February 6 at the State House. Supporters called for full funding of the Special Education Circuit Breaker account.

The Circuit Breaker helps offset the expense to local school districts of providing legally mandated specialized services for children with severe disabilities, including students with specific health care needs, autism, and other neurological disabilities. Special education is paid for from four major sources – the general funds of the town, federal special education grants (IDEA grants), Chapter 70 funds, and the state Circuit Breaker grant. The state’s Special Education Circuit Breaker program reimburses local school districts for a portion of their costs above a certain threshold for educating students with severe needs.

Doug Luckerman, a parent advocate and MAC Helpline volunteer who spoke at the briefing, knows intimately the importance of circuit breaker funding. He shared his story as the parent of a daughter with dyslexia, who benefitted from this funding as a K-12 student. Doug shared, “These funds are critical, and they can change the life of a child.” His daughter has recently been accepted to two universities, which Doug partially attributes to the support she was able to get as a result of this funding.

Also speaking at the briefing were sponsors Representative Jennifer Benson, Representative Alice Peisch, and Senator Jason Lewis; Eileen Sandberg, parent advocate; Jake O’Neil, student at Learning Prep School; and Shelly Berman, Andover Public Schools Superintendent.

Click here for more information about the Circuit Breaker.

For updates on the status of the Circuit Breaker budget item and calls to action, join our email list by emailing communications@massadvocates.org.