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Letter to MWDN Editor: Spilka: Committed to special education

March 10, 2010

March 10, 2010

I’d like to thank my colleague, Representative David Linsky, for his thoughtful and compassionate column on the need for continued special education funding in the Commonwealth (“Linsky: Special ed funding is critical,” February 28, 2010). As the prior Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, as well as a prior member of the Joint Committee on Education in the Legislature and the Ashland School Committee, I have seen first-hand many times how our investment in special education has benefited individuals, communities, and the Commonwealth as a whole.

I am also keenly aware of the budget pressures towns are under, as they fight to save every dollar for the essential services they need. The legislature realizes that we cannot afford to shortchange any of our students in education, and that’s why I am working hard to ensure that special education funding is, in fact, increased this coming year in the fiscal 2011 budget. Combined with funds for regional school transportation, reinstated from $9 million to $18 million by the Governor in January following pressure from the Legislature, and my amendment in the recent Education Reform Bill which was adopted and offers the first step toward education funding adequacy, these initiatives will help to take some off some of the stress cities and towns are facing. Massachusetts is a leader in providing top quality special education to all its residents. I will keep working to make sure we maintain that leadership without increasing the burden on taxpayers.

SEN. KAREN E. SPILKA
2nd Middlesex & Norfolk district
Ashland

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