Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Real Numbers: Special Needs Funding in Alaska

Thanks to Momocrats for obtaining clarification on the special needs budget question directly from Eric Fry, an information officer at the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.

FY 2007 Special Schools Budget:
Alaska School for the Deaf - $956,400
Special Education Service Agency (SESA) - $2,072,300
Alaska Psychiatric Hospital - $146,000
Alaska Challenge Youth Academy - $5,091,600

FY 2008 Special Schools Budget:
Alaska School for the Deaf - $956,400
Special Education Service Agency (SESA) - $2,054,600*
Alaska Psychiatric Hospital - $146,000
Alaska Challenge Youth Academy - $5,709,000

*This budget item decreased because the number of K-12 students went down.

The bottom line? Gov. Palin kept funding for students with disabilities about the same, and about two-thirds of what her supporters are calling "special needs funding" actually went to boot camps for high school dropouts. Don't get me wrong. I support programs that benefit high school dropouts, but it sure looks like she was a better "friend and advocate" to dropouts than she was to students with disabilities.
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