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Practicing tough love for angry taxpayers

From the Editor’s Desk

Stephen Bartlett

Stephen Bartlett

Champlain Valley Educational Services was forced to cut more than 80 positions on top of the nearly 100 that were cut last year as schools pull their special education students back in attempts to save money.

Special education students are costly for taxpayers, partly because the federal government doesn’t keep promises, such as covering more of the costs related to educating such students.

What’s come through loud and clear during all of this is comments by many taxpayers who are fed up with having to cover the costs of educating special education students. They claim it is too costly and requires too many services.

So, typical taxpayers, I’m sorry.

By typical, I mean one who doesn’t fall under the special-education label.

I apologize for my son, Samuel, who was born with 1p36 deletion syndrome, a disorder caused by a genetic deletion. It is characterized by moderate to severe intellectual disability, delayed growth, hypotonia, seizures, limited speech ability, malformations, distinct facial features and hearing and vision impairment .

I don’t know why Sammie was born with this.

I do know he is adorable, and like everyone, he loves and wants to be loved and feel safe and secure.

But Samuel also takes advantage of typical taxpayers who shouldn’t have to shoulder some of the financial burden to help him live to his potential.

Since he was born, Sammie has received speech, physical and occupational therapy, in the home.

He is five and just graduated from his first year of kindergarten at Champlain Valley Educational Services and continues those therapies there. He has a one-on-one aide since he can’t walk, change his clothes or go to the bathroom on his own. He recently started crawling, though it cost taxpayers money since it was partly due to the work of his therapists. Had I known, I would have told them sitting on his butt forever was fine, and less expensive.

Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at stephen@denpubs.com.

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