As a resident of the Yuba-Sutter community and a mom of a child with disabilities, I would like to draw your attention towards the important issue of California’s possible $7 billion budget cuts to education due to COVID-19, and how that could affect free and appropriate public education (FAPE); guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment of our constitution.

Due to health issues, many students in our community will not be able to return to school campuses in August, but will continue distance learning. 

Many of these students have IEP’s and or 504’s with accommodations that allow them an “appropriate” education. If the state follows through with the $7 billion in cuts to education those with underlying health conditions might not be guaranteed a FAPE because schools will likely hire fewer teachers, school social workers, school nurses, and health aides and school counselors due to layoffs resulting from the state budget cuts. 

Distance learning students don’t always get the support built into their IEPs and or 504’s due to the fact they are not on campus. Students struggle with distance learning and those with disabilities struggle even more. 

I saw firsthand how virtual meetings with a school counselor was challenging for my son. Virtual meetings are not the same as face-to-face interactions that will be allotted to students without health conditions.

I urge our local school districts and parents to keep these students in mind and contact your state representative about these possible budget cuts and don’t allow these students to fall through the cracks. 

Schools are going to have to find a safe way to interact face to face with these students so that their right to a FAPE is not upheld.

 

 

Michaelle St. John,

Yuba City

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