Friday, March 13, 2015

Budget cuts to special needs support staff a hit to Toronto’s most vulnerable students

Toronto’s Georgina Rayner has been trying to retire for years now.

At 67, she’s successfully raised her own two kids, both of them with special needs, and seen them go on to achieve professional and personal milestones.

For 30 years, she’s used her own experience to advocate on behalf other parents whose kids are in danger of falling through the cracks in the education system.

Trouble is, every time Rayner tries to step away from her unpaid work, she hears from another desperate family in need of help and she just can’t stop herself from getting back up on the soapbox and fighting for change.

“Every child has the right to learn and to work and become something,” she told Yahoo Canada News. “It really irks me, because it seems like (special needs programming) always becomes the whipping post for all the budget cuts.”

Her comments come as Toronto’s school trustees axe 22.5 support staff positions affecting those who work with special-needs students. The cuts come after the province slashed special-education funding last year, a move that left Toronto’s budget $7.3 million short this year, according to the Toronto Star.  (more...)

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