How can we expand the services for children with special needs? (by Cathy Stevens)


I have been working with a little boy who has autism by volunteering. While doing this work I have become more aware of the limited services in our schools for children with special needs. The question I had was how much money goes to special education? While looking into this topic I learned that parents have to negotiate the services that their child will receive during IEP meetings. I think this is unfair to the children because they should be able to receive all services needed. We all know that funds are limited in our schools I wanted to see how we expand the services for children with special needs. This is why I wanted to write a letter to Beaverton school district to show my opinion on how I think we can expand special education.  

The Research Collection

1) Understanding , Special Education Funding. Com

This web sites talk’s about how most people believe that special education is funded from the government however is not. The school districts have to come up with most of this money on their own. Congress is supposed to cover 40% of the cost for special education, however only covers 15%. This makes it very difficult for school districts to come up with the expenses that special education requires.This web site shows that there is, defiantly a growing number of children that are in need of special education. Speech and language therapy is an expensive service that is highly needed by the children with autism spectrum disorder.

2) This is a handbook for Beaverton schools on all types of budgets.

The one thing I found interesting in this handbook is all the charts. Showing facts that the budget for teacher salaries have increased by 5% in the last five years which is understandable, however the benefits budget has decreased by 38 %. This is where special education would get most of the funding needed.

3)  U.S. Department of Education. This website talks about the no child left behind act. Also going into detail on how every child has the right to have not only a bright future but also the right to a college education. Other facts that this website goes into detail is on how it does not matter the race or ability of the child every child is to be treated equal.

The Public Writing


Beaverton school district

My name is Cathy Stevens and I’m a student at Portland community college. The reason I am writing to you today is because I think we can do more for children with special needs. I have been recently doing some volunteer work with a child who has autism and have become more aware of the limited services for these children. I understand that funding is an ongoing problem for schools all over and we just have to work around these financial issues. I do think the schools have been trying to keep up with special education however I do think more can be done. Even considering the budget that schools have to work with I believe we can find room to expand the services to children with special needs.

As you already know the number of children with autism is increasing. Most of these children require speech and language therapy. Although the services are mandated by IDEA no one can seem to afford them. This leaves parent frustrated in IEP meetings and forced to negotiate services that should be provided by the school district (states understanding special education.) obviously these services are not cheap, and money is hard to come by for these services. So we need to find ways to adjust the budget, in order to expand the services we can provide and help more children.

I know our school teachers work very hard at what they do and deserve the pay that they receive. However something has to give a little in making more money for the services needed for children with special needs. In the hand book for Beaverton school district budget shows that 85.7 % goes into salaries and benefits (page 100). I want to make it clear that I do not think that teachers need a pay cut in order to free up some money. We all know about measure 91 passing and that schools are promised 40 % of the money from the tax.

When making a new budget in the near future with some of the added resource from measure 91. One thing that should be considered is taking .2% from the salaries and benefits and putting that money towards services needed by children with special needs. After all as a school we should be doing everything possible, not to have to say no to parents in IEP meetings. These parents that are going to IEP meetings are trying to get the help their child needs we need to be able to provide the services needed.

Soon the schools will have more resources and even it is not a huge jump in the schools budget it will still give some room to expand in areas. Special education could really use the help. When you think about the no child left behind act, aren’t children with special needs getting left behind to some degree? If parents are having, to negotiate the services their child will receive. Then yes children with special needs are getting left behind to a point. These children should get all services needed to be the best they can be. This is something that not only should change but must change. Every child needs to have a chance at a bright future. That means also giving children with special needs the chance to be the best they can be.


Cathy Stevens

Work cited

Understanding , Special Education Funding. Com

The handbook for the Beaverton school district budget



  1. Tanner Padbuy


    Cathy, I think that you have adressed a great topic, and I agree with alot of what you’re saying. It seems like you researched great sources for the topic and have used them as much as possible. I like that you not only address the problem, but also address that there are other things playing into the problem rather than just saying: “There needs to be more money for Special Education”.

    One thing I would suggest to you, is to maybe think of more ways that we could fix this problem, if that requires more research than so be it. Also, you say that you wouldn’t want to make cuts in teacher salaries, but then in one of your solutions you say to take from their salaries. Make sure you don’t contradict yourself! Also, I caught a bunch of typos, so you may wanna go back and get those.

  2. Jennifer Teachworth

    I agree with the feedback left above–
    I think you did an excellent job in showing how maybe there is a lack of a solution as a result of a lack in awareness, as you weren’t as aware of the limited services available for children with Autism.

    With all arguments, I think it is always best to anticipate any argument your opponent may present, highlighting individual components that are reasonable but that are unreasonable (as in they are unrealistic, unattainable, etc.) in implementation. In this way, your argument can gain more traction in producing a policy change based off your policy recommendation.

    Good job in tackling this project!

  3. Hi There!

    I really love this topic and I am so happy to see you taking action by actually sending a letter to the school district! I Think that it is so wonderful and brave of you to take these steps to work towards a greater good. I really agree with your points here and think that we could definitely take steps to creating a better environment and more resources for those with intellectual disabilities! I do however agree with Tanner that maybe we could find some other ways to make this happen! Although .2% is hardly anything, people having money taken directly from their paycheck, even if it is going to something worth it, can get a little tricky. (Not saying it’s a bad idea!) It’s a good idea! But it’s also good to have a few back up plans. Your resources are great however and totally back up your point!

    Overall I think you have a really strong piece here. Even if this exact letter doesn’t make the change needed (I hope it does,) i’m sure it will at least start a conversation about what they can do to fix it! It was such a pleasure hearing about your experiences throughout this class! You are such an inspiration! Greta work.

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