Saturday, May 31, 2008

Election 2008: Florida and Michigan Delegates Will Go to Denver for Democratic Party Convention

There was not a Democratic Presidential Primary today. No one was lining up at their polling places to cast a vote but votes were a major topic this evening. 

The Democratic National Committee met in Washington, DC today to decide the fate of votes in the Florida and Michigan Primaries. After the shouting and rhetoric were over here is the decision. 100% of the delegation from Florida and Michigan will be seated at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August. Each delegate will be able to cast ½ a vote at the convention.  

The second decision made today was how to actually split the delegates between the remaining Democratic Party candidates.

Michigan Delegates: 69 to Clinton and 59 to Obama. Quick background, in Michigan there was only one Democratic candidate on the ballot, Hillary Clinton. This compromise came from the Michigan Democratic Party.

Florida Delegates: 105 to Clinton and 67 for Obama. Quick background, all the candidates were included on the primary ballot in this state.  

With this decision we now have a new final “Magic” number to get the nomination, 2,118. According to the Associated Press here is the current total per Democratic Candidate: Obama 2,052 and Clinton 1,877.

The next primary is in Puerto Rico tomorrow. Then we move to the final “super” Tuesday with primaries for the Democrats in Montana and South Dakota. The Republicans end with their last primary in New Mexico.

Check out what CNN and MSNBC has to say about today’s developments.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hot Policy Topics: Friday Wrap Up

Budget, budget, budget. This week was all about the budget. On Thursday a majority of House Appropriation subcommittees voted on their budgets. The Health and Human Services budget is detailed in the NC Legislative Update.  

What else is happening:
But it is not all about the budget. There are several bills that have been followed that affect people with disabilities. One of interest is Senate Bill 1480 Medical Release for Ill and Disabled Inmates. This legislation moved a step closer to the Governor’s desk by emerging favorably from conference committee. Senator Tony Rand has championed this bill through both chambers. The legislation would permit no-risk inmates who are either permanently and or totally disabled, terminally ill, or geriatric early release if approved through the parole commission. There will be a release plan created for the inmate that will include a full check to ensure that there is health care available through either private insurance or Medicare/Medicaid prior to the release.  (SB 1480 Medical Release for Ill and Disabled Inmates)

Another interesting bill just popped up on my radar. Senator Dorsett has filed a bill that would permit free parking for people with handicap placards in government owned parking lots. This is an interesting way to address the on the road parking situation that surrounds government buildings in down town Raleigh. Check out the bill,  SB 1922 Free Parking for Handicapped/Govt"t Parking.

Did We Mention The Budget?
And now back to the budget. Looks like all those rumors about a July 1 target for session to end may be true. The House seems to have their budget ready to hit the House floor on Wednesday. That would mean one week until the Senate begins their work on the budget. Short session is actually looking like a “Short” session. Summer vacation may be just a few weeks away.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

NC Legislative Update: The Budget HHS and Education

At the General Assembly today the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Education voted on their final budget requests for fiscal year 2008-2009.

The House Health and Human Services Appropriation Subcommittee and the House Education Appropriation Subcommittee met today and voted unanimously to approve their final budgets.
There were a few adjustments in the Health and Human Services budget, specifically in the Housing 400 Initiative.

Here is a breakdown of the approved budget requests from these two committees.

Health and Human Services:

CAP/MR-DD Tiered Slots
$8,232,411 Recurring

This funding will provide for additional Community Alternatives Program slots for people with developmental disabilities.

START Crisis Model for Developmental Disabilities
$3,239,688 Recurring and $204, 459 Non Recurring

This funding will provide for 9 Developmental Disabilities Systemic Therapeutic Assessment, Respite, and Treatment Crisis Model teams.  

Respite Beds for Developmental Disabilities
$903, 375 Recurring and $177,617 Non Recurring

This funding will provide for start-up and ongoing support of 12 respite beds for individuals with developmental disabilities across the state.

Housing 400 Initiative-Housing Trust Fund
$7,000,000 Non Recurring

The funding for the Housing 400 Initiative increased in the final budget from $4,000,000. This funding provides for the financing of additional independent and supportive living apartments for people with disabilities. $2,000,000 of this funding is redirected from the Mental Health Trust Fund.

Housing 400 Initiative-Operating Cost Subsidy
$1,000,000 Recurring

This funding provides the operating cost for the independent-and supportive living apartments. It provides for the deep affordability that is needed for people with disabilities receiving Supplement Security Incomes.

Early Intervention for Autism
$1,300,000 Non Recurring

This appropriation is a reduction from the original $2,000,000. This funding supports three model programs of early intervention for autism across the state. These programs serve children with autism from birth through age 10.

Supportive Services for HUD 811 Projects
$129,331 Recurring and $155,000 Non Recurring

This funding will provide on-going operation and start –up expenses to support 6 two-bedroom and 19 one-bedroom apartments financed through HUD. These units are located in Wake County, Mecklenburg County, Rowan County and Buncombe County. Direct services dollars are the key to a successful transition to independent living options for the residents of these units.

Traumatic Brain Injury Services
$1,000,000 Recurring

This funding is directed to TBI services.

Beyond Academics: Intellectual Disability Transition Program
$200,000 Non Recurring

This funding will provide support to Beyond Academics, a non-degree university-based programs for students with developmental disabilities.  

Medically Fragile Children’s Program
$70,000 Non Recurring

Funding of this program provides services for the child care component of pediatric day treatment center for medically fragile children. In addition this program will receive an additional $290,000 from the SSBG Block Grant. This was a new appropriation that had not been funded in the previous draft proposal.


Children with Disabilities
$6,200,000 Recurring

This funding will be allotted to Les to support special education and related services for students with identified disabilities. This funding will increase the per student funded rate to $3,386.84 per student.

Dropout Prevention Grants
$15,000,000 Non Recurring

This funding will provide for a second year of grants to drop out prevention programs.

More at Four
$23,000,000 Non Recurring

This funding will expand the More at Four program by 4,184 slots in 2008-2009 and increase the average per slot amount by 3%. This was a new addition in this final budget.  

More Budget News:

In addition to the budget there were a few specific Special Provisions that we should highlight.

First in Health and Human Services ,it looks like out state may finally implement the long awaited Ticket to Work Program. Thanks to advocates across the disability spectrum a significant change was made to the Special Provision regarding Ticket To Work. In the first draft we were looking at maybe up to a year or more delay to implementation. As of this approved budget, implementation of Ticket to Work Program is set for July 1,2008, “whether or not the new MMIS is operational”.

Second, we would like to update you on progress regarding dropout rates and students with disabilities. This year in North Carolina 4,050 students with disabilities dropped out of high schools. In the final Education budget there is a special provision that begins the process of addressing what is happening in high school to children with disabilities. The provision requires the Department of Public Instruction to analyze the participation rates of students with disabilities in Learn and Earn Early College High Schools, Redesigned high Schools, the North Carolina Virtual Public School, and North Carolina public high schools that are on block schedules. In the analysis the Department is being requested to consider enrollment, graduation, and dropout rates for students with disabilities in these different programs.

So What Is Next?

The budget will now head to the full House Appropriations on Tuesday. We expect to see the House vote on the final budget on Wednesday. The Senate will begin their budget process the week after that.  It is looking like session this year will actually be a "short session".

The Arc of North Carolina and advocates across our State applaud the leadership of these two committees and the leadership of the House Appropriation Committee on addressing the needs of people and children with developmental disabilities by funding initiatives in health care, housing and education.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

This week is going to be a short but busy week at the General Assembly. The budget meetings are still taking place and the focus has now shifted to special provisions. The House is going to have subcommittee appropriation meetings again this Thursday. It looks like the full budget will be printed over the weekend and will be ready on Tuesday of next week.  

Wednesday May 28, 2008

11:00 a.m. House Committee on Aging, 1425 LB
HB 2324 (Farmer-Butterfield) Statewide Aging Study: This bill will create a five-year statewide study of the state’s readiness to respond to the growing aging demographic in our state. There is growing concern around aging parent of aging children with developmental disabilities. This topic of preparedness on how to address this issue came up in both the Aging committee and the MH/DD/SA Legislative Oversight Committee.

11:00 a.m. House Committee on Transportation, 1228 LB
No set agenda yet for this committee but there are rumors regarding a transportation bond.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

8:30 a.m. House Appropriations Education, 421 LOB
House Appropriations will release it’s final budget numbers at this meeting. In the previous money report there was $6.2 million for children with special needs in our schools. We will be monitoring this meting and will report any changes.

8:30 a.m. House Appropriations Health and Human Services, 643 LOB
House Appropriations met previously and released it’s draft money/budget report. Included in that report was $8.2 million for CAP/MR-DD slots and slightly under $300,000 for Direct Service Dollars for several HUD 811 independent living projects in our state. We are monitoring this committee and will report any changes on Thursday.


The Senate approved a $165 billion war supplemental spending bill which included a one year moratorium on seven Medicaid regulations (including the rehab option, case management and school based administration/transportation rules). The moratorium was part of a domestic spending amendment which passed by a 75-22 vote. The House passed a different supplemental appropriations bill previously which also included a one year moratorium on the seven Medicaid regulations. These bills need to be reconciled as the major differences on issues such as troop withdrawal from Iraq and levels of domestic discretionary funding.

Social Security:
The Social Security Administration published final regulations on the Ticket to Work and Self Sufficiency program on May 20. While advocates are now reviewing the new regulations, initial reactions are that the regulations will mean some major improvements in the program. The final regulations can be found at: SSA will be posting a side-by-side table comparing selected provisions in the New Ticket rules with the old and other resources on its site:  

In North Carolina a special provision has been drafted that will delay implementation of Ticket To Work for up to 36 months as we wait for MMIS to come on line. This delay is a concern in the advocacy community. A letter has been sent to House and Senate Health and Human Services committee members addressing concerns regarding the delay of implementation of the program.


On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up H.R. 6003, a bill to reauthorize Amtrak. The bill authorizes funding to help Amtrak pay for the work needed to bring the train stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Senate passed its bill last fall without the ADA funding, but with a request for an updated plan on how Amtrak plans to comply with the ADA.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Blog Takes Memorial Day Off.

The blog will not be updated on Monday.  We are taking time off to honor all those who serve our nation.  Have a good Memorial Day weekend and we will be back on Tuesday.

Friday, May 23, 2008

NC Legislative Update: Friday Wrap Up


This week we got the first look at where the House budget may be heading. All House appropriation subcommittees have been meeting jointly with their Senate peers.  After a full day of budget roll outs on Wednesday the General Assembly packed up and headed to Greensboro on Thursday.  It is looking like we will see a full House budget the middle of next week.  For more on the budget scroll down and check out the budget recap.

Check out Chris Fitzsimon's Wednesday Fitzsimon File. 

Coalition Rally Day:

The Coalition Rally Day rocked! Great turn out by advocates with developmental disabilities, their families and friends.  

Gary Robertson with the Associated Press wrote a good review of the days activities. Read it here.

Bills We Are Watching:

Bills that have nothing to do with appropriation requests are also being filed.  We are currently tracking a few bills that are coming out of the Dropout Commission.  This commission met during the session break.  This year we had 4,050 students with disabilities drop out of high school.  House Bill 2356 came out of the dropout commission.  This legislation will study the participation and dropout rates of students with disabilities in learn and earn early college high schools, redesigned high schools, and the North Carolina Virtual Public School.

NC Legislative Update: The Budget

This week the House Appropriation Subcommittees rolled out their budget requests. The final House budget is due this coming week.  

Here is the breakdown of the money report from the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and Education.

Health and Human Services:

Local Crisis System Response System: This will include the Governor's recommendation for funding for the START Model.       $30,334,290 Recurring    $5,904,459 Non recurring

Housing 400 Initiative-Operating Cost Subsidy  $1,000,000 Recurring
Housing 400 Initiative- Housing Trust Fund       $4,000,000 Non Recurring

CAP-MR/DD Tiered Slots             $8,232,411  Recurring

Early Intervention for Autism      $2,000,000  Recurring

Supportive Services for HUD 811 Projects       $129,311 Recurring   $155,000  Non Recurring

Traumatic Brain Injury Services   $1,000,000  Recurring

Beyond Academics: Intellectual Disability Transition Program  $200,000  Recurring


Children With Disabilities/Increase to LEAs  (Raises funding to $3,386.50 per student)
$6,200,000 Recurring

Disadvantaged Student Supplemental Funding  $5,000,000  Recurring

Dropout Prevention Grants       $10,000,000  Non Recurring

Julia's Musings: DD Community Has A Good Day

Wednesday, May 21 was The Coalition Rally Day at the General Assembly. People with developmental disabilities, their families and their friends made their presence known with office visits to their local legislators. They asked their Representatives and Senators to support funding for new CAP/MR-DD Waiver slots and to continue to fund the Housing 400 Initiative, which provides real housing options for people with disabilities. People with developmental disabilities, their families and friends left the state house knowing that their legislators understand their needs and are actively addressing those needs through wise budget recommendations.

The morning started out with excellent news from the House Health and Human Services Appropriation Subcommittee. The Governor’s budget provided no funding to open new CAP/MR-DD Waiver slots for the over 4,000 families waiting for this critical service, but the appropriation subcommittee did see the need. They received your emails, your calls, and heard your stories. They request $8.2 million dollars in funding to open new CAP/MR-DD waiver slots. This funding will open over 1,000 slots.

The members of the House Health and Human Services Appropriation Subcommittee also understood the need for our state to continue developing affordable and accessible housing options for people with disabilities. The Housing 400 Initiative is recognized nationally as a model for creating real housing choice for people with disabilities. The current budget request included $4 million dollars toward new home development and $1 million in rental/operational assistance.

The House HHS Appropriation Subcommittee was not the only group to roll out their budget request. The House Education Subcommittee also recognized an oversight in the Governor’s budget. The Governor did not propose an increase in funding for children with special needs in our public schools. The Education Appropriation Subcommittee however did see a need for increased educational funding for children with disabilities and proposed $6.2 million dollars, which would increase funding to $3,368.50 dollars per student.

The Arc of North Carolina greatly appreciates the leadership of our elected leaders who worked so hard on these important funding recommendations. The final House budget will be released early next week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Arc of North Carolina Legislative Agenda

The Arc of North Carolina advocates for and with families and people with cognitive and developmental disabilities. We believe that the following legislative agenda promotes our goals of advocacy, inclusion, and access to the communities we live in.

Health and Human Services:

SB 1794 and HB 2361 Funds for CAP/MR-DD Slots
To increase funding by $10 million dollars to open new Tier 1/Support Waiver CAP/MR-DD Slots.  This funding will open 1,440 new slots and will reduce the current wait for this critical service.

Coalition Budget:
The Arc of North Carolina supports fully the budget proposals put forth by The Coalition.

Housing 400 Initiative:
The Housing 400 Initiative provides affordable and accessible housing options for people with developmental disabilities.  We fully support the request by the Housing Finance Agency of $10 million dollars in recurring funding to this critical and nationally recognized program.


Funding for Special Needs Programs:
The Arc of North Carolina supports the efforts of Representative Glazier and Representative Lucas on securing needed increased funding for special needs programs in our public schools.

HB 12: Students Ineligible for Special Education Protection
This bill protects a narrow group of students with disabilities who are entitled to special education services and protections under the law.

HB 1366: School Violence Prevention Act.
This legislation would direct the School Board on creating a bullying policy that addresses the causes of bullying, identifies the most vulnerable school populations to bullying and assists in creating a safe school environment.

HB 388: Tax Credit for Special Needs Children.
This bill will offer a credit to families that have children with special needs that are either home schooled or are in private school.  This bill speaks to our continued advocacy efforts for all parents of children with special needs.  

Social Justice:

SB 334: Fair Housing Act Amendment.
This legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis or receipt of housing assistance. Many people with disabilities receive housing assistance. This legislation if passed would assist in opening more housing opportunities to the disability community.

HB 1711: Establish Paid Sick Leave:
Only 58 percent of workers in North Carolina have paid sick days. This legislation would ensure a minimum paid sick day standard in North Carolina. This standard would save $8.11 per worker per week. Ideally paid sick days would cover time off to care for ill children. Nationally 30 percent of workers have paid sick days for staying home with an ill child.

Higher Education:

SB 1498: Study Disabled Access to UNC Facilities.
This bill would direct the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina study the accessibility of its facilities to people with severe physical disabilities seeking basic access to higher education within the state university system.  


Housing Trust Fund/Housing 400 Initiative.
The Housing 400 Initiative has been the most successful program to come out of Mental Health/Developmental Disability/Substance Abuse Reform. This program receives its funding from the Housing Trust Fund. The Arc of North Carolina has been working with the NC Housing Coalition to stress the importance of affordable housing options for people with developmental and cognitive disabilities. We support the appropriation of $10 million to the Housing Trust Fund and $10 million to the Housing 400 Initiative.

Coalition Rally Day!!

Today is THE COALITION Rally Day! If you are in Raleigh or near Raleigh we invite you to join us!

THE COALITION (formerly Coalition 2001) represents individuals and organizations statewide, that advocate for persons needing services and supports for mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases. Since 1991, The Coalition has recommended a budget to the North Carolina General Assembly. Each year during the Legislative session, The Coalition sponsors several advocacy events to bring local advocates to Raleigh to speak with their state legislators. We strongly encourage you to make appointments with your legislators well in advance of the day.

Advocate for better funding for mental health, developmental disability and addictive disease services

Rally at NOON!
Across the street from the Legislative Building , Jones St.

v Parking available at State Fair Grounds (Gate 9) with bus services to Legislative Building beginning at 8:30 am and running to 2 pm

v Registration will open at 8AM on the back portico of the Legislative Building : Participants can get information on the day’s legislative committee meetings, the current budget proposal and begin visits with legislators.

v Trainings will take place at 9, 10 and 11 AM in the Legislative Building Auditorium (third floor): Short trainings will be held on effective ways to communicate your message to Legislators. Volunteers will also be on hand in the auditorium from 8:30 to 12:30 with tips and techniques for making the most of your legislative visit.

v Afternoon, start of Session: Attend the House and Senate sessions – The Coalition members in the gallery will be recognized.

v Popcorn will be available on the portico at 11 am!

The Coalition encourages your participation in this event to advocate for funding for mental health, developmental disability and addictive disease services. For more information on the event, please contact Erin McLaughlin at 919-981-0740 x507 or


To meet others also interested in this event and to find individuals to carpool, please go to the link listed:


Thanks to the generosity of RHA Howell, we will have a bus and two vans that will make a circle from 8:30 am to 2 pm from the State Fairgrounds location to the Legislative Building and back to the Fairgrounds. WE ARE URGING THAT THIS BE AN AREA WHERE PERSONS DRIVING A BUS, VAN OR CAR WITH PASSENGERS CAN COME TO PARK. You will need to take your passengers directly to the Legislative Building and then come back to park the vehicle.


Directions to Parking –
Take Wade Avenue toward I-40. Get off at the Blue Ridge Roadexit (the one you would take to go to the NC Museum of Art or the State Fair). At the top of the ramp coming from downtown Raleigh turn left onto Blue Ridge Road. Coming from the west
(I-40, exit 289 to put you on Wade Avenue) turn right onto
Blue Ridge Road. Take Blue Ridge up to Trinity Road– several blocks. Turn right onto Trinity Road. Take a left at the oak trees into the Gate 9 access road, then turn right and park in the area immediately adjacent to the oak trees. A Coalition volunteer will be in the parking area. You are parking in the Lower Bunn Field – a satellite area of the Fairgrounds.

REMINDER - WE SUGGEST THAT IF YOU ARE BRINGING A BUS OR BRINGING A GROUP IN A CAR OR VAN – that the driver of the vehicle take the passengers directly to the Legislative Building and drop them of. Then the driver of the vehicle drive to the State Fairgrounds, park the vehicle and return to the Legislative Building by bus.

FOR PERSONS IN WHEELCHAIRS - please note that we will have limited transportation with wheelchair accessibility so it is suggested that those in a wheelchair be dropped off directly at the front of the Legislative Building and that drivers of those vehicles use the shuttle service after parking their cars/vans at the Fairgrounds.

Dispatch from the GA: The Subcommittees Roll Out their Budgets

Budget meetings with the big appropriation chairs continued well into the night last evening.  612, the budget room, was a buzz with activity as staff and legislators worked on the numbers.  Rumor has it that today is the day that the subcommittee will roll out their individual budget proposals.

Here is the breakdown:  
8:30 a.m. the following subcommittee will meet in the Legislative Office Building.

8:30 AM APPROPRIATIONS / Justice and Public Safety (Joint) 415 LOB
8:30 AM APPROPRIATIONS / Education (Joint) 421 LOB
8:30 AM APPROPRIATIONS / Health and Human Services (Joint) 643 LOB

Once we know the numbers for Health and Humans Services and Education we will post them here.

Julia's Musings: Chris Fitzsimon on the Budget

On Monday, Chris Fitzsimon the director of NC Policy Watch wrote about the current budget cycle.  It is clear to us here at the blog that the Governor's budget and the proposals from numerous legislative committee are not on the same page.  Chris gives us a good look at those stark differences.  From education for students with special needs to the need for funding to increase CAP/MR-DD Waiver Slots, Fitzsimon breaks it all down for us with a clear and reasonable voice.  Hopefully everyone is listening.

Read the Fitzsimon File: Behind the Budget Headlines.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

It is all about the budget this week. With tight deadlines to complete subcommittee budget reports, the majority of meetings scheduled deal only with appropriations.

Monday, May 19, 2008

12:00pm House and Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Joint meeting with Senate. 425 LOB

Discussion continues this week on the budget in Health and Human Services. There are big discrepancies between what the Governor would like to see happen and what this committee would like to see happen.  There are also a number of appropriation bills that have not yet been filed and that are up for discussion.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

8:30am House and Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, 1425 LB

Funding for the Housing Trust Fund rests with this specific committees recommendations.  The Housing Finance Agency along with multiple organizations, including The Arc of North Carolina are lobbying for $20 million in recurring funding for this fund.  The Housing Trust Fund allows organization to receive brick and mortar grants to create affordable housing options for the homeless, aged, people with disabilities and people with substance abuse or mental illness.

8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. House Committee On Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, 643 LOB.

House Committee On Judiciary I, 1228 LB.

This bill was discussed in great detail during last years session.  Our state does not yet have guidelines that would permit the release of non violent criminals that are seriously ill or disabled after their incarceration.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

8:30 a.m. House Committee On Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 421 LOB.

8:30 a.m. House and Senate Committee On Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, 643 LOB.

8:30a.m. Senate Committee on Appropriations on Education/Higher Education and Education/Public Instruction, 421 LOB.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Legislature is in Greensboro.

Friday, May 16, 2008

NC Legislative Update: Friday Wrap Up

On Tuesday, May 13th State legislators headed back to Jones Street to begin the 2008 Legislative short session. The building was all a buzz between returning legislators and lobbyists the session was off to a fast start. This week and during the next few weeks it is all going to be about the budget.  

Press Conference Comments:

Representative Paul Stam during a Republican press conference on Tuesday, May 13 responded to a question about funding mental health services by pointing out that people with developmental disabilities were overlooked in the Governor’s budget. This was followed up by Senator Phil Berger speaking out this week for more training and recruitment of special education teachers. The Arc of North Carolina appreciates these two leaders support of families and people with developmental disabilities.

The Budget:

The Governor got the ball rolling on Monday when he presented his budget proposal. The Governor’s budget includes $68 million for Mental Health Services. Of that proposal is $4 million toward the START Crisis Model for people with developmental disabilities.
In Education the Governor’s proposal contains $12.5 billion for education from pre-K programs through University programs. The Governor’s budget did not include any additional funding for children with disabilities. During the 2007 academic year our State had 4,050 students with disabilities drop out of our high schools.

Health and Human Services Joint Appropriation Subcommittee:

There were two Health and Human Services Subcommittee meetings this week. The first took place on Wednesday, May 14 with Secretary Dempsey Benton presenting the DHHS budget proposal.

Secretary Benton presented the Crisis Service plan that is being put forth by the Division. For people with developmental disabilities, the long awaited funding proposal for START Model crisis program was presented. This will include nine (9) developmental disability teams linked to treatment facilities and 24 respite beds for people with developmental disabilities that will be housed at group homes instead of institutions.

On Thursday, May 15 the HHS Joint Subcommittee met again. This time it was legislative staff breaking down the Governor’s budget proposal. Representative Bob England chaired this meeting. Representative England let all the members know that the budget was on the fast track. After reviewing the line items budget requests Representative England opened the floor to committee members. Representative Beverly Earle requested that staff flag all expansion items in the Governor’s budget. Representative Earle continued by stating that, “It has come to my attention that there is no funding in this budget for new CAP/MR-DD Tier 1 slots.” Representative England followed up this comment by stating that, “There is an appropriation bill that addresses this funding request for CAP slots”. Both Representative England and Earle are primary sponsors on this appropriation bill. (Check out who else is supporting this bill-Action Alert)

At the end of the committee meeting it was announced that a joint committee appropriation report needs to ready for the big appropriation chairs by Wednesday, May 21, 2008. We are definitely in a sprint!

Education Appropriation Subcommittee:

The Governor’s budget proposal did not include any expansion in funding for children with special needs. In fact it shows a 2 million dollar reduction based on adjusted head count of children with special needs. There was also no funding to address the drop out situation in our State.

The good news is that the Governor’s budget was not received well by the committee members. In addition there are already several appropriation bills that will address the needs of special education students in our State. The majority of these bills are coming out of the Education Oversight Committee and the Dropout Study Commission.

Again leadership in the General Assembly have stepped up to address the critical need for increased funding for children with special needs. On Monday, May 19, 2008 two bills will be introduced in the House. The first is to raise the funding cap for special needs children from the current 12.5% to 12.75%. The second would be to increase supplemental funding for children with disabilities to $3,450.81 per child.

Action Alerts:

The Arc of North Carolina issued an action alert on Friday regarding the Senate and House Appropriation bill for funding for new CAP/MR-DD Slots.

ACTION ALERT: Funding for CAP/MR-DD Slots! Call or Email Today!

Action Alert: Funding for New CAP/MR-DD Slots

The budget is moving quickly and the Health and Human Services Joint Appropriation Committee needs to hear from you today.

There are over 4,000 families waiting access critical services through CAP/MR-DD slots. The Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Joint Legislative Oversight Committee and the Governor’s Budget ignored the needs of these families by not proposing any funding for new slots. Your concerns and your needs are not being overlooked by leaders in the General Assembly many are taking action to help correct this oversight. Representative Maggie Jeffus, Representative Martha Alexander, Representative Bob England, Representative Beverly Earle, Senator Doug Berger and Senator Walter Dalton are primary supporters for an appropriation bill requesting ten million dollars ($10,000,000) be appropriated in this budget towards new CAP/MR-DD slots.


Call and or e-mail the following Representatives and Senators and say Thank You for supporting funding for new CAP/MR-DD Slots. Tell them how important these new slots will be for the more than 4,000 families who are waiting for a CAP slot.

Representative Beverly Earle 919.715.2530
Representative Bob England 919.733.5749
Representative Jeff Barnhart 919.715.2009
Representative Wil Neumann 919.733.5868
Senator Doug Berger 919.715.8363
Senator William Purcell 919.733.5953


The following members serve on the HHS appropriations committee and have not yet signed on the bill. If they represent you it is particularly important for them to hear from you today or Monday.

Representative Verla Insko 919.733.7208
Representative Debbie Clary 919.715.2002
Representative Linda Coleman 919.733.5974
Representative William Brisson 919.733.5772
Representative Charles Thomas 919.715.3012
Senator Harris Blake 919.733.4809
Senator Charlie Dannelly 919.733.5955
Senator James Forrester 919.715.3050
Senator Steve Goss 919.733.5743

Tell Them:

-Please support this bill.

-CAP/MR-DD slots permit families and persons with developmental disabilities who qualify for this program to receive critical support services.

-Without an investment by the General Assembly there will be NO new CAP/MR-DD Slots for the over 4,000 people and families waiting for services in our State.

If you do not know who your legislator is or how to reach them you can go the General Assembly web site.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

NC Legislative Update: House HHS and Education Appropriation Meet Today

Two House Appropriation Committees that directly affect children, adults with disabilities and their families will meet today.

House Health and Human Services will meet at 10:00am in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building. The Department of Health and Human Services will present the Governor's Health and Human Services budget.  The Governor's budget proposed $68 million in Mental Health Services.  Of that proposal is $4 million  to provide needed funding for the START Model, crisis services for people with developmental disabilities.

Also at 10:00am in room 421 of the Legislative Office Building the Governor's Office will present their Education Budget.  In reviewing the budget we found a $2million dollar reduction based on adjusted head count for children with special needs.  There was no additional funding for Exceptional Children programs in the Governor's Budget.

We will provide an update on these two meeting later in the day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Election 2008: West Virginia Goes to Clinton

How is this for a very short primary night, MSNBC has called West Virginia for Hillary Clinton. 
Now it is on to Oregon, Puerto Rico, Montana, South Dakota and Kentucky.

Election 2008: Presidential Primary West Virginia

The Race for the White House moved to West Virginia today with the Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barak Obama continuing the fight to secure the Democratic Party nomination for President.  
We will update you tonight with the results from this primary.

A Message from the Blog Team!

Greetings everyone and welcome to the North Carolina General Assembly 2008 Legislative Short Session.  The legislators are back and policy decisions are underway.

During the session, if we have something cool to report we will be posting quick updates.  We call this quickie update Dispatches from the GA.  The first one just went up regarding a press conference that was held this morning by the minority leadership.

Enjoy this new way to keep up to date with all things on Jones St.

Dispatch from the GA: Minority Leader in the House Speaks Out for Children With Developmental Disabilities

During a news conference this morning, Minority Leader of the House Representative Paul Stam was asked a question regarding the Governor's funding request for Mental Health Services in our State.  In reply to the reporter's question Representative Stam stated that the Governor's budget did not include any funding for children with developmental disabilities.

We appreciate Representative Stam addressing the need for funding for new CAP slots for children with developmental disabilities.  

North Carolina General Assembly Gets Going Today!

The long anticipated start to the legislative short session begins today at 12:00 p.m.

With a tight budget (only a $150 million surplus) and it being an election year (very few controversial bills emerging) this session is shaping up to be a sprint to the finish.

Some of the major budget issues this session will be teacher's raises, transportation/infrastructure needs, and mental health services funding.  Currently both the Governor's budget and the leaders in the General Assembly are focused on addressing the same issues.  However, the appropriation requests are very different.  The Governor has in his budget $68 million for mental health services, primarily aimed at crisis services.  The MH/DD/SA Legislative Oversight Committee proposed $42 million for mental health services.
Both proposals address the creation of in community START Model teams for crisis services for people with developmental disabilities.  However, neither proposal address the crisis in accessing CAP/MR-DD Slots for children with developmental disabilities.

The Arc of North Carolina Policy Blog will be in the building all session keeping you up to date on the progress of the budget and other policy issues.  The Arc of North Carolina will be rolling out its Short Session Policy Agenda later today.  

Monday, May 12, 2008

Julia's Musings: Governor Mike Easley Rolls Out His Budget Requests

Today Governor Mike Easley released his budget request for the short session.  His recommended budget adjustments for fiscal year 2008-2009 come to $21.5 billion.

Included in the budget is $68 million for enhanced services for mental health.  The funds are to be used to expand local crisis system services, improve clinical staffing rations in psychiatric hospitals and enhance facility management systemwide. 

For persons with developmental disabilities and their families, the good news is that the START Model is included in the local crisis response system. The funding for START will be to create intervention teams for persons with developmental disabilities through the creation of regional DD teams and group home beds for crisis respite.

The bad news is that again a budget was released with no mention of the need to fund more CAP/MR-DD slots.  The Governor's budget also ignores the growing wait list for these crucial CAP/MR-DD slots.  Currently in North Carolina we have over 4,000 families waiting for a way to access services for their children with developmental disabilities.  Without State funding there will be NO new slots to serve these families.

To the leaders in North Carolina we ask this question, "How long could you wait for services if your child had a developmental disability?" Could your family wait one year, two years or maybe five years to access a CAP/MR-DD slot?  

It's time for leadership from the Governor's office to the State House to help these families by funding new CAP/MR-DD slots.

Read more about the funding of the Mental Health Services at WRAL.

Monday Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

Governor’s Budget:
On Monday, Governor Mike Easley will release the last budget as Governor of the state of North Carolina. From all reports we expect to see an increase in funding for More at Four and education in general. We also expect to see funding increases for mental health services. There will also be increases in teacher and state employee salaries. Once we see the budget we see the budget, we will be posting an update here on the blog.

Monday, May 12, 2008
10 a.m. | The North Carolina Study Commission on Aging meets, 544 LOB.
This is the last meeting of this committee before session begins. They will be finalizing recommendations for the short session.

2 p.m. | The Disaster Preparedness Issues subcommittees for Hurricane Preparedness, Evacuation and Response and Flood and Natural Disaster Preparation and Response meet, 544 LOB.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
9 a.m.| The 21st Century Transportation Committee meets, 643 LOB.
Rumor has it that there may be at least on bond proposal that will come out of this committee for the short session. The committee will be voting on its final legislative action and we will report it here.

12:00 p.m. The House convenes, House Chamber, Legislative Building.

12:00 p.m. The Senate convenes, Senate Chamber, Legislative Building.

Session break officially ends at noon today. The House and Senate will gavel in and the short session for 2008 will open. The hot topic will be the budget and how to spend a limited amount of money on many important and necessary budget items. Already on the list of must fund are teacher and state employee waivers. The General Assembly will also be looking at how to handle the crisis in Mental Health services. But there is another crisis in health and human services. For persons with developmental disabilities the crisis is real. Without an appropriation by the General Assembly to fund new CAP/MR-DD Waiver slots there will be no growth in this crucial program. This means many will continue to wait years without needed services.

Read Dan Kane's (News and Observer) review of the 2008 legislative budget.

2 p.m. | The Joint Appropriations/Base Budget Committee meets, 643 LOB.
House and Senate will meet to take a first review of the base budget. We will report on this information on Wednesday after we review the details.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

8:30 a.m. | The Joint Appropriations/Base Budget Committee meets, 643 LOB.
More budget discussions and review.

Thursday, May 15, 2008
12:00 p.m. The Joint Interim Study Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management Recovery meets, 544 LOB.

Friday, May 9, 2008

NC Legislative Update: Friday Wrap Up


The budget for the FY 2008-2009 will be very tight this budget cycle. Several things are playing into this. First is the 18% increase in home foreclosures. Second is the increase in rising fuel prices, which will effect expenditures on school bus transportation. It is looking like there will be very little in flexible spending dollars after the basic needs for the budget are met. We will keep you up to date on this. The Governor will be releasing his budget on Monday, May 12, 2008.

Joint Appropriations Health and Human Services Subcommittee:

On Wednesday, May 7, 2008 this committee received the appropriation request from the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Legislative Oversight Committee. The budget remained as detailed last week in this blogs summary. No amendments or changes occurred during the meeting.
The HHS Committee also received a report regarding the Schools for the Deaf and the School for the Blind. The report was intended to answer the question of if the schools should remain under HHS or move under the Department of Public Instruction. The report did not answer that question. Senator Doug Berger, co-chair of the committee, asked the presenters if the had analyzed the academic success rate of students enrolled in the deaf schools versus students enrolled in mainstream schools. The answer was that the students at the deaf schools are not doing as well academically. One reason for this is that these students often arrive at the deaf school behind in their academics and also have additional disabilities. We expect to see a this topic come up again in this committee. Representative Charles Thomas suggested that a future study on this issue be placed in the Program Evaluation Committee.

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee:

This committee met on Thursday, May 8, 2008 to vote on the proposal that was presented last week. There are two bills were presented in this report regarding students with disabilities. The first is a change to the statute governing homebound instruction for students with disabilities. The statute be amended so that the continued appropriateness of the homebound instruction is evaluated monthly by a designee or designees of the student’s IEP team. The second bill is to study the current participation rates and dropout rates of students with disabilities in the Learn and Earn Early College High Schools, Redesigned High Schools, the North Carolina Virtual Public School, and North Carolina public high schools that are on block schedules and report back to the committee.

There will also be a report presented on May 15, 2008 by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina regarding the preparation of teachers to educate students with disabilities. The report will include what can be done to better prepare teachers exiting the University system to be ready to teach students with disabilities.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

42 - 0 Good for Football BAD for People with Developmental Disabilities!

by Dave Richard, Executive Director - The Arc of North Carolina

Forty two to zero! Sounds like a bad football game doesn’t it? Unfortunately this is no game and the stakes are higher -- much higher. Last week the powerful Legislative Oversight Committee on MHDDSA, upon recommendation from its two co-chairs, approved a report that recommended over 42 million dollars in funding for mental illness and substance abuse services….and zero funding for services for people with developmental disabilities. For families and people with developmental disabilities, being shut out is no game.

At The Arc we believe funding services for people with mental illness and those attempting to recover from addictive disorders is important and that the high profile attention to these issues is warranted. However, for a legislative committee that is intended to provide leadership and oversight of a system that includes developmental disability to act in such a one sided manner in their recommendations is a slap in the face of all North Carolina citizens with developmental disabilities and their families.

Not only does the report exclude funding recommendations for people with developmental disabilities, it all but ignores policy recommendations suggested by The Arc and other advocates. For example, the recommendation for the state to reestablish its policy of collecting standardized waiting list data was not included. Families and people with developmental disabilities are waiting five, six, or seven years for services. What did the committee recommend for these families who are waiting? $1,000,000 dollars to conduct a gap study. These families do not need a study to tell them where the gaps lie! Even a positive recommendation for Tiered Waivers has taken a turn for the worse because legislative leaders chose to insert caps on the tiers based upon personal belief rather than real data. It is entirely possible that the Oversight Committees recommendations for Tiers will result in a less efficient system.

It’s difficult to imagine why the committee chose this path. Maybe it is due to a lack of understanding of how the Developmental Disability system works compared to the Mental Health/Substance Abuse systems, or perhaps the recommendations from The Arc and others were not presented properly. Regardless, it is unacceptable for a public body charged with the responsibility of meeting the needs of a group of individuals favor one over another.

I am not a cynic when it comes to the legislature. I believe these are good men and women who want to do the best for North Carolina citizens. Despite this poorly conceived report we can still help members of the General Assembly do what is best for all citizens who rely upon the public MHDDSA system. The Arc along with others will continue to bring our message forward. We need you to join with us to do so. Sign up for e-alerts, check our website, attend meeting and events in Raleigh. Most importantly tell your Representative and Senators that 42-0 is ok for a football game but it is just plain wrong in the game of Life!

NC Legislative Update: Health Human Services Appropriations Committee Meets Today

Today the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee will meet to review the appropriations requests from the Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Legislative Oversight Committee.

We are expecting the appropriations requests to be heavy on Mental Health services based on the proposal that came out of the MH/DD/SA Oversight Committee.

If you are a person with a developmental disability or a family member of a person with a developmental disability and are in Raleigh, we encourage you to attend this meeting.  It begins at 10am in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building.

If you can not make the meeting please listen on line.  You can access audio for the meeting by going to the North Carolina Legislative website.

We will have an update on this meeting at its conclusion. 

Election 2008: Result Wrap Up!

It's been a really late night here at the blog.  We are still waiting to see what happens in Indiana with the Democratic Presidential Primary race.  Right now it is still to close to call.

What we can report is what happened here in North Carolina.  With 98% of our polls now reporting here are the results:

Democratic Presidential Primary
Senator Barack Obama wins North Carolina over Senator Hillary Clinton.

Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

Bev Perdue wins the primary over Richard Moore.

Democratic Lt. Governor Primary
Walter Dalton wins the primary over Hampton Dellinger, Pat Smathers, and Dan Besse.

Republican Gubernatorial Primary
Pat McCrory wins the primary over Fred Smith, Bob Orr, Bill Graham and Elbie Powers.

Republican Lt. Governor Primary
Robert Pittenger wins over Jim Snyder, Timothy Cook and Greg Dority.

To see more results from today’s primary head over to WRAL’s Election Results.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Election 2008: Keeping Up with the Results

We are about four hours away from the polls closing and we are already seeing some great reporting on what we should be looking for this evening.

So, might we suggest checking out what Chris Fitzsimon has to say at NC Policy Watch.  Or if you want up to the minute spin and results action we have two sites for is Under the Dome and the other Isaac Hunter's Tavern!

Election 2008: Access to Voting

Access to a polling place is very important for voters with disabilities.  If you experience any problems voting today we want you to report it.

Please call either:

The NC State Board of Elections at 866-522-4723.
Or Democracy North Carolina at 888-OUR-VOTE.

Today is the Day!! Go Vote!!

Good Morning Everyone!!!  It has been a long time coming but North Carolina Primary Day is finally here!!

It has also been a long time since North Carolina has been in play during a Presidential Primary Season.  But, there are lots of important seats in play today.  On the ballot is a tight race on both the Republican (Pat McCrory and Fred Smith) and Democratic (Bev Perdue and Richard Moore) side for Governor.

There is also a very competitive race for Lt. Governor on the Democratic ballot between Walter Dalton and Hampton Delinger. On the Republican ballot we are seeing an interesting race with Robert Pittenger.

The Democratic ballot also has a race for a candidate to challenge Senator Elizabeth Dole in the Fall.  The candidates are Kay Hagan and Jim Neal.

Across the State voters will also be voting on local representation options. We have numerous races that will in the Fall decide who will represent you in the General Assembly.

This is a big election.  Big decisions that will shape future policy.  Again we encourage you to get involved.  Here are some things you need to know today

  • Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.  If you are in line at 7:30 p. m. you WILL be able to vote.
  • If you do not know where your polling place is you can find it on the State Board of Elections webpage.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Monday Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

This is going to be a short week at the General Assembly. Tuesday is Primary Day here in North Carolina and our legislators are on the road shaking hands and rallying voters to vote on Tuesday.

Polls across our state will open at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 6th. We also encourage you to get out and vote.

This is also the last week before short session begins again. The last few meetings we expect to see committees finalize their proposals and get ready for what is rumored to be a fast session.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

10 a.m. The Joint Appropriations Health and Human Services Subcommittee meets, 643 LOB.
We expect this committee to begin to receive funding request from the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Services Joint Legislative Oversight Committee. The full proposal from this committee is now available on line.  

MH/DD/SA LOC Report 2008

Thursday, May 8, 2008

10 a.m. The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee meets, 1027 LB.
This is the zero budgeting committee that has been reviewing legislative programs and the relative need for funding them.

1 p.m. The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee meets, 421 LOB.
This committee will also be finalizing their previous proposals prior to session.

Friday, May 9, 2008

9:30 a.m. The Lottery Oversight Committee meets, 421 LOB.

A very hot topic in our state is the lottery. How the money is used and how the lottery is funded is a topic of interest to many in the legislature. The lottery is not all it was billed to be for our state and will probably end up on the General Election stump speech circuit.



Today the House of Representatives is expected to vote on an extension of the Higher Education Act until May 31. The Senate passed the extension (S. 2929) on April 29the day before the current extension expired. This will give House and Senate negotiators more time to come to agreement on the overhaul of the Higher Education Act which includes several new provisions benefiting students with disabilities.

Emergency War Supplemental Funding

Congressional leaders may finalize strategies on emergency war spending. This bill may well be the only appropriations bill to pass this year. Priority non-defense spending increases are likely to be added in the House and Senate. The Medicaid regulations moratorium bill is another likely candidate to be added to the war spending bill. President Bush has threatened to veto the war spending bill if it contains non-war related spending.


Medicaid Moratorium Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) attempted to put the Medicaid Moratorium bill on a fast track by bypassing committee consideration. That tactic failed when Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) objected. The next step for the bill is unclear. One possible alternative is the passage of a cloture petition to proceed. Another option is to add the bill to another “must pass” bill, such as the Emergency War Spending bill.

(Thanks again to DPC for the information)

Count Down to the Start of Short Session

The General Assembly will open it's short session in just 9 days!  Stay tuned as The Arc of North Carolina releases its 2008 Legislative Agenda. 

It is going to be exciting session. Join us and be part of the process.  Become a member of The Arc of North Carolina. Visit The Arc of North Carolina website and sign up for our E-Alerts!  

Election 2008: Tomorrow is Primary Day

It's almost here folks! Tomorrow is Primary Day in North Carolina.  
Polls open at 6:30am.  Looking at reports from Early Voting - turn out is going to be heavy. 

So, here is the message: Go Vote! This is a very important election year.  The choices we make this year will have an affect on people with developmental disabilities, from education to health care this years election will set a new agenda.  We encourage you to get out and vote early.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Election 2008: Early Voting Ends Saturday May 3


Early Voting Ends this Saturday, May 3, 2008.  We encourage you to take advantage of the Early Voting Sites throughout our state.  Remember, you can register to vote and vote at these sites.
Our Primary is a Semi-Open Primary so if you are currently registered as unaffiliated you may chose on Primary Day to participate as either a Republican or Democrat.

For more information please visit the State Board of Elections website.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

ACTION ALERT: Call Our North Carolina Senators Today!

Call Our North Carolina Senators Today!

Tell Them to Support H.R. 5613: Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008.

Call Senator Elizabeth Dole at 202.224.6342
Call Senator Richard Burr at 202.224.3154


As the economy worsens, the President is cutting public programs. The current target: Medicaid. The Administration proposed 7 Medicaid rule changes that would cut Medicaid funding by nearly $50 billion over 5 years at a time when people need it most.

The President has already threatened to veto this legislation. If we cannot get it passed in the Senate and override the President’s expected veto, a number of critical services will be lost, including case management, rehabilitation services, school-based transportation, and administrative services. These cuts will not only hurt many people with disabilities directly, but they will ripple through every state's economy - leading to losses in jobs, and drops in wages and business activity.

This legislation will postpone Center for Medicare and Medicaid Rules that negatively affect people with developmental and cognitive disabilities. H.R. 5613 will postpone enactment of these rules until April 2009. This important legislation passed the House of Representatives last week with overwhelming bi-partisan support.

Tell Them:
  • Support HR 5613 Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008. We need to you to oppose all 7 harmful regulations.
  • These harmful Medicaid regulations include a rehabilitation option, school-based administration/transportation and targeted case management regulations. These regulations will severely affect North Carolinians with developmental disabilities.
  • Many of these rules go beyond the intent of the Deficit Reduction Act.
  • These regulations will hurt the state of North Carolina financially. Our state see the elimination of 11,700 jobs costing the state $412.1 million in wages.
  • North Carolina will lose $2.7 billion over the next five years in Medicaid reimbursements.
  • These 7 harmful Medicaid regulations are bad for North Carolina.

Election 2008: Primary Update

Good Morning Folks!  Another quick reminder..Early Voting/Same Day Voting sites are still open.   If you have not registered to vote but would like to participate in this important primary, it is not to late.

This year you can register to vote and vote at all Early Voting Same Day Registration Sites in North Carolina. Visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections for more information.

Julia's Musings: Students with Disabilities Not #1 Priority

4,050 students with disabilities dropped out of high school this year. That is 4,050 students with disabilities who clearly did not get the support needed to successfully graduate from high school. A big part of that is the lack of realistic funding formulas for these students. Students with disabilities deserve a sound basic education. That is what our state constitution says and that is what families should be demanding.

This week June Atkinson, State Superintendent of Public Schools presented to the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education the supplemental budget requests. Attached to this funding proposal was a letter to Governor Easley in which she states that this budget request includes “stronger support for children with disabilities and for the academically and intellectually gifted”.

Great start until you actually read the request. To reach funding at 230% of regular ADM per student with a disability the state would have to invest over $100 million. DPI and the State Board of Education acknowledged this and then requested an appropriation of $40,000,000. This is a less than 1/3 of the required investment to truly serve these students.

After presenting the appropriation request, June Atkinson was asked to prioritize the funding needs. First up, teachers raises. So, where did funding an appropriate, sound basic education for students with disabilities rank? Fourth (4) tied with funding for gifted students. So much for the stronger support for children with disabilities.

Read More:
Steve Jackson, NC Justice Center, shares his views on this issue at the Progressive Pulse. Check it out.