POLITICS

Sequestration 2013: School funding for students with disabilities in jeopardy

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The impact of sequestration in: Virginia | Maryland | District of Columbia

Debbie Sahlin wanted to help families with disabled children, so she founded the Lollipop Kids Foundation, which refurbishes then donates wheelchairs and other equipment to families in need.

She also knows first-hand the challenges of having a child with special needs. Just getting her 18-year-old son Ryan off the school bus takes extra effort. As do most aspects of her daily life that most people take for granted.

Ryan goes to public school in Montgomery County, which makes the thought of any more cuts in education funding tough. It’s even tougher when nearly half of the sequestration cuts in education would affect students with disabilities - $24 million worth of cuts in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.

Unless Congress acts by Friday, $85 billion total in cuts are set to take effect from March-September.

“If they cut any more, I honestly don't know how they're going to serve the children who are already in the school system.,” Sahlin says.

Sahlin's fear is that more cuts would mean fewer staff members, which could mean pulling her son out of school altogether.

“For safety reasons, you can't have a child like mine or any disability with every other kind of student who can't defend himself,” she says. If he doesn't have his one on one aide somebody's going to get hurt and it’s going to be my child."

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