Access Living and Alderman Waguespack announce city council resolution

At a news conference on Wednesday morning, November 18, Access Living joined Alderman Scott Waguespack (32), to announce a Chicago Council Resolution. The resolution, sponsored by Waguespack and supported by other members of the Progressive Caucus, calls for hearings to address the impact of more than $30 million in cuts to the Chicago Public Schools Special Education Budget.

alderman Waguespack speaking at podium at City Hall. Crowd of people behind him. “The CPS Board and CPS staff have said in the past that they wanted to clear up misconceptions about the state of funding in special education at CPS,” said Waguespack (Speaking in picture above). “This resolution asking for hearings by the Education Committee will provide CPS an opportunity to clear the air and tell the public exactly what the state of funding and support for special needs students is at this point in time and throughout the year. The system supporting special needs students needs to be fully funded and CPS has an obligation to fulfill that duty today.”

With the resolution, Access Living hopes the Chicago City Council will oppose the Special Education Cuts, which will result in cuts to more than 400 Special Education Staff.

Rod Estvan, Access Living’s Education Policy Analyst, spoke at the news conference. “CPS is faced with a dire fiscal situation, but cuts for students with disabilities have already begun, and could be multiplied by cuts to come in the near future,” Estvan said.

Access Living Candace Coleman speaking at City Hall to reporter from Univision

(In the picture above Candace Coleman of Access Living speaks with reporter from Univision) There is already a significant performance gap between students with disabilities and non-disabled students. In part because students with disabilities are not as well prepared for higher education and the workforce, people with disabilities face the highest unemployment rate of any group in Chicago. The cuts have the potential to make those outcomes worse.

“Families of students with disabilities are enormously concerned about the future of their children in the school district and the City of Chicago,” Estvan said.

Timotheus Gordon, a youth advocate ( Here is a link to Gordon’s Speech ), SEIU Local 730 ( click here for a statement from a member of SEIU ), parents of students with disabilities, the Family Resource Center on Disability, Raise Your Hand, and the Chicago Teachers Union also participated in the news conference.

For more information, contact Gary Arnold of Access Living at 312-640-2199 office, 773-425-2536 mobile;

Gary Arnold
Public Affairs Manager