State superintendent stresses funding and resource needs in State of Special Education address

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman
Posted at 2:28 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 16:29:25-05

PHOENIX — State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman Tuesday pushed for more funding, resources and support for special needs students, during her second annual State of Special Education address to the House Education Committee.

The former speech therapist touched on many of the same themes of last week's State of Education address, while also highlighting the specific challenges children with special needs have faced during the pandemic.

"Unfortunately, the reality of the high spread of COVID-19 and its impact on in-person learning has meant that there are students with disabilities who did not receive their typical, necessary services," said Hoffman. "As more of our in-person classrooms reopen, students with disabilities will need additional targeted supports to ensure those critical pieces of their individualized education plans are met."

Hoffman said the Arizona Department of Education has set aside $5 million to help special education students catch up, and touted efforts with the Governor's office, Helios, and ASU to better support special education educators and their students.

She also outlined support for several bills working their way through the state legislature that would increase funding for special education and pre-kindergarten programs, and provide paid family medical leave for all workers.