Posted by: ACFE Inc | June 17, 2011

Action Alert: Special Education Reform Bills Introduced!

(Copied directly from the Education Law Center‘s action alert e-mail)

The special education reform bills, House Bill 704 and Senate Bill 1115, have been introduced and are now on their way. For more information on these bills, click here.

 

Please take a minute right away to click on the bill numbers below and see whether your Representative and Senator have signed on as cosponsors.

 

If you do not see their names, give a quick call to their Harrisburg office and ask them to immediately cosponsor this legislation.

 

If your representative and senator are already listed as cosponsors, call them to say a big “Thank you!” The new bill numbers are House Bill 704 (yes, the same number as last year) and Senate Bill 1115.

 

Both bills are identical. Both are the same as the major reform legislation helping students with disabilities that we all worked so hard on last year.

As you know, in 2010 House Bill 704 was passed by the House with bi-partisan support and came close to getting a vote in the Senate. We just ran out of time and had to start over in the 2011-12 session.

 

The newly re-introduced House and Senate bills fix the distribution and accountability of state funding for special education, aimed at improving opportunities to learn for children with disabilities. You can find the Harrisburg phone number for your senator and representative here. Call their Harrisburg offices in the Capitol.

 

TALKING POINTS for calling the Harrisburg office of your own state senator and representative:

  • Please immediately add your name as a cosponsor for the special education reform bill, House Bill 704 or Senate Bill 1115. These bills have just been introduced.
  • The lead sponsors are Representatives O’Neill and Sturla and Senators Browne and Dinniman.
  • I am asking you to support reform of the state funding and accountability system for special education.
  • This legislation was approved 173-25 by the full House of Representatives in 2010, and is now being re-introduced. The bill does not call for any new funding in 2011-12.
  • The current funding system is broken, is unfair, and does not provide enough resources for special education in the right places. It sets the number of students eligible for state funding for special education at 16% regardless of whether the school district has fewer or more students receiving special education. It also does not focus the funding on strategies that have a track record for improving student performance.
  • The school districts you represent need support for special education, and must be held accountable for results. The new bills address these issues.
  • I have personal experience with how this broken system hurts children with disabilities and all students. (Describe your experience.)
  • Thank you for supporting this important issue and signing on as a cosponsor of HB 704 and SB 1115.
  • I will call back in a day or two to follow up.
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