DEAR EDITOR:

All children in our community need access to education where they can thrive and not be left behind.

Unfortunately, many children with learning differences find their needs cannot be met in the public school setting. I know this firsthand as a mother, both my children have learning differences not met by the public school system. As we watched them lose confidence and fall behind, we knew we needed other educational options. We have been able to use the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship or SB10 program to help pay for their education in a private school specific to their needs. This scholarship allows students across the state of Georgia with IEPs to have access to a private school.

While I know firsthand how the SB10 program can impact the future for children with special needs I also know many children do not have access to the funds because they don’t have IEP. Some of these children have what is known as a 504. Many of these children will never qualify for an IEP. To address this issue, Georgia lawmakers introduced SB 386. This legislation will expand the scholarship opportunity to students with 504s and provide much-needed improvements to the program. Currently, the legislation has passed out of the state Senate and is waiting to be heard in the Georgia House of Representatives.

As a parent and advocate, I call on the Georgia House of Representatives to do the right thing and move this legislation forward this session. We all want our children to succeed and have the foundation to be successful in life, and for some children that mean options other than public school.

Kimberly Leftwich

Marietta

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