Budgeting for Special Needs

Every school board receives monies to fund the additional requirements of our “special needs” population.

“Special needs” extends from behavioral problems (severe) to autism to down syndrome to other physical impairments including hearing and sight loss.  It’s a large spectrum, but each of these needs is very real.

Students are assessed and are assigned a “code” – this code determines the amount of funding that is allocated to that need – and really, to that student.

But what happens when the funding for the real need is simply not enough to pay for the real services that have to be spent on this student?

The money comes from the general budget.

Is this the right thing to do?  Well, it is the noble thing to do.  The right thing to do?  Well, that would be for the funding that is allocated to the particular need actually be enough to offer the real services required for that real need.

Can an argument be made against paying for these needs of our students when we are happy to fund IVF treatments for infertile couples?   When our government is looking to spend our money on a stadium in Quebec City?

When we take money from a school board’s general budget to cover the costs of our special needs students, we are doing the noble thing.  We are perhaps even doing the right thing.  But let’s also understand that this money is being taken from all of the rest of our students.

The real solution though, again, is to code these students appropriately, and to adequately fund the services that they require to succeed.

Why do we have such great problems in our schools?  One reason is that we’re not even covering the  basics for our special needs students.

Wake up, Quebec City, please.




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Filed under Commentaries, Education

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