Saturday, January 2, 2010

Special Education Emergency Cuts in Maine: Correspondence with a legislator

The following is a correspondence between me and a Maine legislator. The Maine DOE is trying to make huge cuts and changes to special education in Maine in a special "emergency session", many of which were already debated and REJECTED by the legislative education committee. It is an end run around the committee's previous decisions. It will undermine the hardwon rights of disabled children (not to mention that of disabled adults). I admit my last response is snarky, but are they really willing to put EVERYTHING on the table? My guess is a big fat "NO". (Read from the bottom up).

Does that include your salary? and the salary of all legislators?

storkdok, M.D.


-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Casavant <acasavant@maine.rr.com>
To: storkdok@aol.com
Sent: Fri, Jan 1, 2010 7:10 pm
Subject: Re: DOE emergency changes

I stand by what I wrote. There is no money, and the situation is not going to immediately improve. When money was flush, the Legislature did many things. By Constitution, a budget must be balanced, so when revenues decrease, programs decrease. As a Legislator, I, must look at the big picture. Every committee attempts to protect the interests of its own turf. That philosophy will not work any more. We have roughly four months to cut almost $400 million dollars. That is why I will make no promises, and that is why I say everything is on the table.

Sent: Friday, January 01, 2010 6:12 PM
Subject: Re: DOE emergency changes

This is hardly an "irritant". It directly effects my son's life and education. It has taken many years for the disabled to achieve a level playing field. This will undermine it greatly. There are many other areas other than the education of disabled children that should be focused on. The fact that this is an end run by the DOE to get around the education committees, who have already rejected many of these measures after careful consideration, is what galls us parents.

storkdok, M.D.


-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Casavant <acasavant@maine.rr.com>
To: storkdok@aol.com
Sent: Thu, Dec 31, 2009 8:01 pm
Subject: Re: DOE emergency changes

Hi:
I cannot make any promises, as there simply is no money and cuts are inevitable. The question will be where those cuts shall come. The sad fact remains that if one area does not see cuts, another area will have to absorb such cuts. There is no way around it. So, we, as a body, will have to weigh the pros and cons. It will not be science. It will not be entirely objective. In fact, I suspect, it will be imperfect and irritate many, many people. All I can promise is to do my best and to be vigilant.
Alan

Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:57 AM
To: Jaci.Holmes@maine.gov ; Senlibby.mitchell@legislature.maine.gov ; Hannah@pingree.com ; psutherland@sutherlandweston.com ; justin@justinalfond.com ; schneidersenate@gmail.com ; gary@garyconnor.org ; sencarol.weston@legislature.maine.gov ; rwagner@bates.edu ; edfinch@roadrunner.com ; acasavant@maine.rr.com ; steve.lovejoy@myfairpoint.net ; mpn3@maine.rr.com ; rankin8076@roadrunner.com ; Richardson@hermon.net ; mcfaddenh@roadrunner.com ; petejohnson@gwi.net ; Patrick.ende@maine.gov ; Deborah.friedman@maine.gov ; Hannah@pingree.com ; psutherland@sutherlandweston.com ; justin@justinalfond.com ; schneidersenate@gmail.com ; gary@garyconnor.org ; sencarol.weston@legislature.maine.gov ; rwagner@bates.edu ; edfinch@roadrunner.com ; acasavant@maine.rr.com ; steve.lovejoy@myfairpoint.net ; mpn3@maine.rr.com ; rankin8076@roadrunner.com ; Richardson@hermon.net ; mcfaddenh@roadrunner.com ; petejohnson@gwi.net ; Patrick.ende@maine.gov ; Deborah.friedman@maine.govJaci.Holmes@maine.gov; Senlibby.mitchell@legislature.maine.gov ; Hannah@pingree.com ; psutherland@sutherlandweston.com ; justin@justinalfond.com ; schneidersenate@gmail.com ; gary@garyconnor.org ; sencarol.weston@legislature.maine.gov ; rwagner@bates.edu ; edfinch@roadrunner.com ; acasavant@maine.rr.com ; steve.lovejoy@myfairpoint.net ; mpn3@maine.rr.com ; rankin8076@roadrunner.com ; Richardson@hermon.net ; mcfaddenh@roadrunner.com ; petejohnson@gwi.net ; Patrick.ende@maine.gov ; Deborah.friedman@maine.gov
Subject: DOE emergency changes

12/31/09

Hello,

We're writing as concerned parents of a child with autism about the Department's Proposed Rule Changes. We oppose the eligibility language and oppose shortening the statute of limitations. We also oppose taking stay-put protections away from complaints and mediations. We are in favor of keeping the transition age at 14 years old and are in favor of keeping the current CDS evaluation time line. Please help us support allowing schools and parents to video record IEP meetings and oppose caps to contracted provider rates.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

storkdok, M.D.
Mr. storkdok, M.D.

3 comments:

Club 166 said...

What? No response to your last missive regarding legislator salaries being on the table, too?

Perhaps they will capitulate on the videotaping of IEP meetings. I firmly believe that video can be a very important tool in holding others to proper procedure.

Joe

storkdok said...

Joe,

I did just look at my mail, he replied that they voted to not increase their salaries last year. He also said he has to work as a HS teacher to supplement his salary. I haven't replied yet. I will probably say something along the lines of, "Well, that was last year. If you intend on cutting all these other areas, you should put your salaries on the table, too. That will show "shared sacrifice"."

They want to get over 200 changes without having the education committee look at them and okay or decline them. Much was already declined in the past, such as changing the criteria for kids who get SPED. They want to cut out as many as 65% of kids receiving SPED now, even those with AS and PDD-NOS, and try to reclassify a lot of autistics to "HFA" and not give as much aide. They will gut the programs.

They have already stopped funding most adult programs, there is a several year waiting list once the kids age out to getting services. They are basically still living at home with no services. I know this because I am on the board of one of our areas disability organizations (for kids and adults).

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