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Special Education Millage Headed For Ballot

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I A special millage election to uielp finance the special educartion programs operated by the [Washtenaw County Intermedíate School District will almost certainly face local voters on June 9- the date of the annual school elections. Neither the date nor the amount has been officially set, but Nick A. Ianni, superintendent of the county school district. said last night a hálf-mill levy "at a minimum" will be on the ballot. Both the date and amount will probably be set this spring. Ianni gave his recommendations during the regular monthly meeting of the Washtenaw C o u n t y Intermedíate School District Board of Education. A special citizens' committee will be appointed by Dec. 1 to study the special education needs of the district and to recommend a millage amount. If a half-mill lew is put on the ballot and is approved by the voters, this would mean a tax increase of 50 cents per $1,000 of state equalized valuation. Ianni told The News today a millage increase is "definitely" needed to cover the "inflationary costs" of the special education programs and to cover the cuts in state aid which were initiated two years ago. "For the past two years our special education expenditures have exceeded our revenues," he said. "We have been living off our equity (reserve), and can't do it any longer." "If we don't get the additional millage, there will be no alternative but to cut staff and special education programs," Ianni added. The additional millage would supplement the one-half-mill levy for special education in Washtenaw County voted in 1959. Ten years ago, 53 special education programs servicing 2,765 children were provided by the county school district, Ianni said. During the 1968-69 school year, this same half-mill is helping to finance 190 programs for 8,500 children. Ianni said the main cause of inflationary costs is the need to "provide competitive salaries for our staff." Two years ago, the state also began putting ceilings o n state financial reimbursement for special education - a decisión which has hurt the special education programs considerably, according to Ianni. The Intermedíate School District operates special education programs in all 10 local school districts. These programs provide training for the mentally retarded (both educable and trainable), the physically handicapped (including deaf, hard of hearing, blind, partially sighted and orthopedie children) and the emotionally turbed. Also part of the special education programs are vocational rehabilitation and speech therapy programs, and programs for unwed mothers and juvenile delinquents. Diagnosti-I cians and social workers arel also provided. Ianni said the special mülagel election must be held June 9,1 because according to state law.l all special education electionsl must be held on the annualj school election date.


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