Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) on Tuesday warned that a plan to end Medicaid reimbursements for transportation and special education administration would affect the ability of schools to provide mandated services to low-income students with disabilities, the Chicago Tribune reports.
According to Durbin and Davis, the plan, part of the fiscal year 2007 budget proposals announced earlier this year by President Bush, would reduce Medicaid reimbursements to schools nationwide by a combined $650 million.
In addition, the plan would require school districts to obtain permission from parents to receive Medicaid reimbursements each time they provide medical services to disabled students.
School districts currently have to obtain permission from parents only one time.
School district officials have said that "a weekly or monthly paperwork requirement would make it nearly impossible for large districts to qualify for these Medicaid dollars," the Tribune reports. Davis said, "It is a despicable deed that needs to be rethought and changed.
If these cuts stand, we are going to leave millions of children behind." Chrisanne Gayle, director of federal programs for the National School Board Association, said, "It's going to have a ripple effect because more money will be directed at special ed at the expense of regular ed kids."
However, Peter Ashkenaz, a spokesperson for CMS, said, "We believe the financial impact on the schools will be minimal.
It doesn't impact the services the children receive" (Dell'Angela, Chicago Tribune, 8/30).