Cashion schools demand more funding

Monday, April 28th 2008, 10:30 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

Parents and students from the Cashion School District descended on the capitol Monday to ask for more funding for special education programs.

If the school doesn't get the money, Cashion schools may be forced to close.

Students of Cashion High made a bold move, showing up unexpectedly at the office of state lawmakers, but they managed to be heard.

Federal law says public schools must provide education to children with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, but the school said it's not getting the funding it needs to offer adequate education.

"We want to see a cap put on the IDEA Law to help smaller schools," student Brentney Maroney said.

The rally was sparked due to a legal case involving Martin Barry and his 6-year-old twin daughters, Kayleigh and Kaitlyn Barry. The girls have autism, and he wanted them educated in Cashion schools.

"Decisions were made by the district to fight our request or attempt to deny our request for service," Martin Barry said.

He has been challenging the school over his daughters' education since 2005. The girls are getting the services, but the legal bill for the school is now more than $300,000.

"They chose to hire attorneys rather than provide a service," Barry said.

Parents and students said they are not against the family; they just need a financial hand.

"I just think it's a shame that it's federally mandated that we provide specific services for certain children and the rest of the children are left at the mercy of the remaining budget," former Cashion School Board member Anita Robinson said.

Another legal challenge from the Barry family just wrapped up last week. A ruling is expected in mid-June.

The State Department of Education said there is little they can do because this is a federal issue. They did mention that the state pays special education teachers five percent more for their services.