A Texas coalition committed to enhancing school choice for students today sent a letter to Governor Abbott requesting that the state use some of the $18 billion in federal education funds it is set to receive, to further fund and expand eligibility for the Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) program.

This program provides families with special needs children $1,500 grants to purchase services to help get additional support for children dramatically and painfully impacted by school closures as a result of the pandemic. The signers of the letter include: Texas Federation for Children, Texas Public Policy Foundation, ExcelinEd Action, the Miles Foundation, and Families Empowered.

“With the influx of $18 billion in federal education funds coming into our state, we are asking you to further fund the existing SSES program and expand eligibility so those with special needs can obtain the supplemental educational options they need to be successful,” reads the letter. “The global pandemic further exposed the serious challenges confronting families of students with special needs and the imperative of providing the fullest range of educational options and continuity of care for their children. By using some of these federal dollars to expand this program, Texas families can get the help they need to get their children back to a place of healthy progress and success.”

As of today, nearly 12,000 students have submitted applications to utilize these grants for special needs services they have missed over the past year, and from those applications, the Texas Education Agency has awarded grants to about 7,000 students. Thousands of Texas families are grateful for the much-needed assistance, but thousands more are struggling and waiting for the help they desperately need from an expanded SSES program.

To read the full letter, see below.

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