The article in Wednesday Journal, A new special ed cost for public schools, News, Nov. 1, was misleading, and shifted the focus away from the central fact: District 97 is discriminating against private school students in the allocation of special education services. While these services are administered by the public schools, they should-by both law and conscience-be available on an equal footing to both public and private school students.

Attempting to frame the issue as an “unfunded federal mandate” to provide services to non-resident students is disingenuous, and should not be allowed to justify the practices of not giving equal priority to all special education students. Dist. 97 is primarily funded by our local property taxes, and most of the private school students in question are Oak Park residents. For example, at Ascension School, all of the families with students receiving special education services from Dist. 97 are Oak Park taxpayers.

The article said there are 14 private school students currently on the waiting list for these services. From Ascension School alone, there are 12 children on the waiting list. Clearly the way these programs are being administered has a disparate, negative impact on private school students.

Ted Anderson
Oak Park

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