Careful reorganization could save Chilton Co. special needs program | News
CHILTON COUNTY, AL (WBRC)- A Chilton County program that helps special needs students gain valuable work skills is in danger of being cut.
The program has been around since the 1980s, benefitting kids like Skylar. His father, Ronald Pearce, credits Skylar's social skills to the program.
"His ability to socialize with people has become better. His ability to learn work has become greater," Pearce said.
Students have even gained jobs right out of school. But this year, kids like Skylar will no longer be taken to a central training location.
"The state has had significant, over $2 billion in cuts from federal and state funds and those cuts have been passed on to the local boards to the point where we're now having to rob Peter to pay Paul," Chilton County BOE President Joe Mims said.
Mims says funding for all aides on special needs buses have been cut. To keep the program alive, he says some shifting of duties has to be done.
"What we're going to try to do is have a mini-program in each school and each community so that it will not take as many employees and as much transportation," Mims said.
It's not a move parents like Pearce can agree on.
"To take that away from these kids that are in a normal routine pattern will damage not only their routine but it will set them back in their learning process," he said.
However, Mims says this change will save the county $175,000.
"In this instance there's really nowhere else to take the money. Is it worth it...yeah," Mims said.
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