Board Of Education Hears From Students With Disabilities During A Budget Hearing

The kids were asking for more funding for programs to help children with disabilities.


Frederick, Md (KM). A budget hearing on Superintendent’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget was held Wednesday night by the Frederick County Board of Education. The spending plan totals $629.8-million, which is $27,515,177 more than fiscal year 2019. But the fiscal 2020 budget has $20.1-million more¬† in expenditures as opposed to revenues.

During the hearing, the Board of Ed took testimony from children with disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia who wanted more funding for programs which help them and other kids with these disabilities learn in the classroom. “Please add $300,000 more to the budget so my brother and I can learn how to read and spell better,” said Jonathan John, who attends Middletown Elementary School.

His brother, Joseph John, attends Middletown Middle School. “I was in the language foundations, but it wasn’t strong enough for me. I needed a stronger program so I can learn how to read and spell better,”he said. “I am not getting any help with dysgraphia. Please add $300,000 more to the budget for kids like me and my brother.”

Dyslexia is a learning disorder which involves difficulty with reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning in how it relates to words. Dyscalculia is difficulty in learning arithmetic,learning how to manipulate numbers, performing mathematical calculations and learning facts in mathematics. Dysgraphia is a deficiency in learning how to write, primarily handwriting and coherence.

Kensington Hand said she had difficulties in learning and asked the Board of Ed to provide the additional $300,000 in funding. “I don’t want other kids feeling like they are dumb, stupid and not smart because that’s what happened to me,” she said.

And Lauren Gill said her parents took her out of Deer Crossing Elementary School because of her learning problems. “I am not the only one who had to leave FCPS. There are others. So please give $300,000 and the $500,000 for us so we can have $800,000 for kids like me,” she said. The Board of Ed has set aside $500,000 for programs to work with these children.

Adults also testified for additional funding for children with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. Cassandra Hand said she was able to get help for her child, but not all families are so fortunate. “57% of all Maryland 4th grade students are not proficient in reading. 75% of Maryland 4th grade students who are in poverty are not proficient readers. It affects¬† all our children,”: she said.

The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the budget next Wednesday. Then it goes to the County Executive.


By Kevin McManus