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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Veto of State Special Education Bill Could Cost School District Millions

BY JULIE WALLACH


Gov. Schwarzenegger cut $133 million statewide in funding for mental health services to students with severe emotional issues by vetoing California Assembly Bill 3632.
The Special Education Pupils Program, or AB 3632, was adopted in 1984 to “transfer responsibility for providing mental health services to special education pupils from school districts to county mental health departments,” according to the State of California’s website.
Services covered under AB 3632 include individual and group therapy, crisis counseling, case management and residential placement.
According to Jan Maez, the district’s chief financial officer, SMMUSD could see a cost of up to $4 million per year, with 19 district students needing coverage at $170,000 per student covered annually.
Ben Allen, vice president of the board explained, “The severity of potential cost is so high and could very adversely affect the district.” Allen urged the board to contact state government officials and organize an advocacy campaign.

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