Jerry Brown needs to hear that Disability Service Programs need to be better funded in California. With funding more students can access and succeed. Implications include independence, quality of life, and all that good stuff. Write to him and let him know to support accommodations and services!
I got the following letter from College of Alameda’s DSPS office so I thought I would share it here with others. Fax to 916-445-2841.
The Honorable Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Brown:
I am a(explain that you are a student with a disability, DSPS Coordinator or counselor, representative of a disability rights organization, family member, interested citizen, etc. and briefly describe your organization, or why you are interested in services for students with disabilities.)
I am writing to ask you to approve the budget for the California Community Colleges sent to you by both the Senate and the Assembly. I support the Legislature’s decision to restore funding for several critical student service programs including a $50 million augmentation for Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS). I realize you have many difficult decisions before you but believe the approval of this item is particularly compelling for the following reasons.
First, the 40% cut to DSPS and other student service programs, which was made during ”the great recession”, was never intended to be permanent. Senate President Pro Tern Steinberg and other leaders who participated in the budget negotiations in 2009 have confirmed that their intention was that the funding for these critical programs would be restored when the state’s economy and budget recovered.
Second, this staggering cut to DSPS and other student services programs was disproportionate to the 12% cut taken by the California Community College (CCC) system as a whole. Moreover, significant funding increases have almost fully restored the cuts to the rest of the CCC system and funded new programs such as Student Success and Student Equity, but insufficient funding has been provided to DSPS to provide for the basic services and accommodations needed by students with disabilities if they are to complete college successfully.
Third, a study by the Community college Chancellor’s Office and numerous discrimination complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education document that students with disabilities are not receiving timely or effective services to which they are entitled by state and federal laws. This puts individual colleges and the state of California at legal risk. Examples of the service deficiencies include long wait times for services, lack of alternate media such as braille, electronic text, or large print books, lack of sufficient test proctoring services, lack of notetaker and disability related tutoring services and closure of DSPS offices during certain hours or days of the week.
Fourth, while we understand that local flexibility in determining spending priorities is generally desirable, this flexibility has never benefited students with disabilities who are far too often at the end of the list for or not on the list at all. For this reason, the Legislature passed AB 77 (Lanterman) in 1976 and you signed that bill into law establishing the DSPS program to ensure the consistent and equitable provision throughout the state of services essential to effectuating the civil rights of persons with disabilities mandated by Government Code Section 11135 et seq., the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Finally, restoring funding to DSPS is an investment in California’s future because it will provide students with disabilities, including thousands of ”wounded warriors” returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the services and accommodations they need to help them succeed in college. Research shows that the completion of higher education significantly increases the chances that a person with a disability will become employed and contribute to California’s economy rather than remaining dependent on public services.
For these reasons, the Board of Governors, the Community College League, the California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability and many other community college and disability rights organizations support restoration of funding for DSPS. The Legislature clearly saw the value of this investment and the need for fairness and equity when it voted to augment the DSPS budget by $50 million. I urge you to consider these same factors and support this augmentation as part of the final budget.
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