North Mississippi mom pushes for special needs vouchers - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

North Mississippi mom pushes for special needs vouchers

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (FOX13) -

Debra Dye is a North Mississippi mother of two dyslexic children. She's back from Jackson after speaking before both the House and Senate Education committees on the education needs of her children.

"Number one is just to get everyone to be aware of this bill and to contact your legislators and let them know how you feel. As parents, we can make a difference as to how they vote," Dye said.

Dye's sons, Marshall and Cooper, both struggle with dyslexia. Marshall is at the Bodine School in Memphis with an $18,000 a year tuition for help with his dyslexia. Cooper is enrolled in DeSoto County Schools.

Under the proposed Special Needs Bill, Dye could qualify for $6,000 to help pay for tutors or tuition to help with Marshall's education bills. Also, they could possibly receive another $6,000 for Cooper if she was to choose to educate him outside of the public school system.

"It's a start, I know some of the opposition has said that $6,000 is not enough to take that child out of the public schools to another location and properly educate them," Dye said. "But, we are not receiving the services we need for dyslexia in public schools. So we are not getting anything for the $6,000. So, if we take the $6,000 out of there, then there are plenty of options. We could home school them and have a licensed dyslexia therapist, or licensed tutor, or spend it on tuition at a special school."

Word out of the Senate in Jackson is that while the Special Needs Bill may narrowly have the votes to pass, there is some opposition to it.

"I think it boils down to money," Dye said. "I think that too many people are focusing on the fact that they may lose money from the public schools and they are not focusing on the education of the children."

If the bill passes it would set up what are known as Individualized Education Funds. Money would come out on a quarterly basis and parents would have to provide verification that the money is being spent correctly. This would start as a pilot program with 500 students. You can read the Mississippi Senate Bill 2325 Special Needs Students Bill by clicking here on the link.

 

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