Special Education continues to be an area in which boards request more supports and resources given the complexities of student needs. This is even more significant where community services and supports are not readily available or easily accessible. This is especially the case in northern, rural and remote communities. The corollary is also true that urban areas attract families of students with medical/health and other significant needs because of greater access to services and supports (e.g. treatment centers).
OPSBA and its member boards continue to monitor and track the impact of the phased-in Differentiated Special Education Needs Amount (formerly High Needs Amount) to ensure adequate supports and services for all special education students. OPSBA recommends the ministry assist school boards in continuing to help parents and communities understand the funding elements of special education.
Most boards continue to enroll newcomer and refugee students into their schools, with many arriving with very high needs that require additional resources that are not always part of a board’s original budget.
- Dedicated additional funding be made available within the special education envelope that reflects the ongoing specialized needs of students who require special education supports and/or services. This is especially true for students with autism. Funding needs to be available for students with special needs who arrive during the school year. It is overwhelmingly agreed that more funding needs to be directed to special education supports and programs/services and training of school staff to help children and youth to reach their full potential.
- Continued review of the special education grant components to ensure that they are reflective of the current school board realities.
- Continued funding for psychological assessments to reduce wait times.