On Tuesday, November 8, Chippewa Valley residents will be asked to approve a ballot proposal for a Special Education Enhancement Millage. The proceeds from the 1.2 mill proposal will be used to protect and enhance both special education and general education programs in our district. Every penny will stay in Macomb County and our school district to help local students.
Macomb County’s 21 school districts are now losing $103 million in funding each year compared to 2008 levels from cuts in state per-pupil aid, declines in local property taxes as home values decreased, and the loss of money from federal and other sources. The total equals about $785 for each of the 131,000 students countywide. Here in Chippewa Valley we are losing more than $12.7 million.
The funds from this proposal would continue to help finance programs for all our district’s special education students, plus those with more serious impairments who are attending up to 18 MISD regional and center-based programs.
One in seven Macomb County students currently receives special education services. Last year we provided services to 1,793 special needs students. In recent years, there has been a significant increase of learners with autism, children born with low-birth weight, and other cognitive impairments and health-related issues that require additional services from the Macomb Intermediate School District.
Chippewa Valley, like other districts in Macomb County, is finding it increasingly difficult to fund special education programs while avoiding budget cuts to general education programs. If approved by voters, the new funds would partially offset the district’s funding losses by helping finance local special education programs. This in turn will free up some general fund dollars for programs that will benefit all Chippewa Valley students.
If the proposal is approved Chippewa Valley would receive an additional $3.3 million in funding or approximately $206 per student. Although this represents only about a third of what we are currently losing annually, it will go a long way to help restore and preserve programs.
According to the county equalization department, the average cost of the proposal for a Macomb County homeowner is about .20 cents per day or $71.56 annually (Clinton Township is about .20 cents per day and Macomb Township is about .28 cents per day based on the average residential taxable value). For many homeowners the increase could be much less or nothing at all depending on federal and state tax deductions and rebates. Chippewa Valley residents can calculate their actual cost of the special education proposal at www.mytaxcalc.com/MacombISD.
You must be registered by October 11 to vote in this election. Forms are available in every school office or the Secretary of State website at www.michigan.gov/sos.
The Chippewa Valley school community has a proud legacy of supporting their local schools and the quality education we provide. Please remember to vote on Tuesday, November 8!
Find out more by going to chippewavalleyschools.org. Have a question about the proposal? Call us at (586) 803-8500.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has published proposed regulations to change the mental impairments. These are the criteria used to help determine whether an individual with intellectual disability, mental illness, autism, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, or other cognitive or mental disorders is disabled for purposes of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or the Social Security disability programs.
The Arc and UCP have carefully reviewed these regulations and believe they make a number of significant improvements for people with disabilities. We are finalizing our comments and urge that you comment directly to SSA on the following key points:
1. Terminology. Thank SSA for proposing a transition to using the term “intellectual disability” and urge SSA to drop the use of the term “mental retardation” altogether with clear instructions that the terms have the same meaning and cover the same people.
2. Diagnosis. Urge SSA to ensure that decision-makers respect the valid diagnosis of intellectual disability made by professionals and do not allow them to dismiss a valid diagnosis based on their own limited observations.
3. Infants and toddlers. Support SSA’s proposed new listing for Developmental Disorders of Infants and Toddlers to evaluate developmental disorders for children from birth to age three.
4. Measures of functional ability. Urge SSA to eliminate the reference to the use of standardized tests for measuring the functional abilities of people with mental impairments, as related to the “paragraph B” criteria of the regulations, until such time as tests have been developed, assessed, and found to truly measure the areas of function that are under consideration.
Please submit your comments online by the deadline of Wednesday, November 17 (11:59 p.m. eastern time) at:
Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts.