Letter to the Editor

Credits for special scholarships

Thursday, February 28, 2008

To the editor:Currently, there are more than 130,000 special education students in Missouri. Most of these students require special classes, services, teachers and attention. Many have the possibility of living a normal and successful life, but they need the proper tools to get them there. An appropriate education is one crucial tool every child needs, especially those who have developmental disabilities.

I am a parent of autistic children, and I am constantly struggling to assure my children receive the proper education. Unfortunately, not every school is equipped to do so. Instead of struggling with a school to make existing programs fit an individual child, parents should have the right to find the program that is already tailored to their child's particular needs.

Two legislative bills create the Missouri Special Needs Scholarship Tax Credit Program. Senate Bill 993 and House Bill 1886 may be able to alleviate some of the issues parents may face. These bills would grant more choices to parents by providing scholarships to the children/parents. They could use these scholarships to attend public or private schools. Those taxpayers, individuals or corporations, who donate to the scholarship granting organizations would be able to take a tax credit up to 80 percent of their donation.

The special-needs children truly do need more choices for their educational needs. We need to support these children and their future by supporting these bills. I urge everyone to contact your legislator and show your support for SB 993 and HB 1886.