Governor Kelly Tours Butler County Special Education Interlocal Vocational Programand Visits with Students

EL DORADO – Today, Governor Laura Kelly visited the Butler County Special Education Interlocal in El Dorado, where she toured and observed the facility’s vocational program, met with participants of the program, and discussed the importance of fully funding special education in Kansas.

“Every student deserves access to the resources and support they need to thrive both in and out of the classroom,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “Facilities like the Butler County Special Education Interlocal are going above and beyond to provide students with critical learning opportunities and teaching real-life skills to prepare for life after graduation. We must continue ensuring these programs are available for our students by fully funding special education in our public schools.”

Governor Kelly’s tour of the facility was guided by April Hilyard, the Director of Butler County Special Education. Governor Kelly visited with three students — Summer Davis, Anthony Loyd, and Brandon Strobbe — to hear about their experiences in the program.

“We are honored to have Governor Kelly visit us at Butler County Interlocal to see the impact special education services have on the progress and development of students,” said April Hilyard, Director of Butler County Special Education. “We believe all students have the capacity for growth regardless of their circumstances. Fully funding special education allows us to invest in our students, invest in our staff, and cultivate an inclusive community where individuals with all ability levels can find success and independence. It is my hope that our state leaders will recognize the benefits fully funding special education can provide not only for students with special education services but for all students, families, educators, and community members. All Kansans benefit when our most vulnerable individuals succeed.”

Nearly 90,000 students in Kansas are in special education or gifted programs, which are funded through special education. The special education funding gap impacts every Kansas student. Governor Kelly has called on the state legislature to fully fund special education to ensure every student has the same access to resources and ability to thrive.

The Butler County Special Education Interlocal serves nine school districts. Project LIFE provides training for high school students and adult interns for sustainable employment and/or preparation for individual living accommodations. Through this program, Butler County provides performance-based training for special education seniors and 18-21-year-old interns to gain skills in the following areas:

  • Food service/hospitality
  • Maintenance/custodial
  • Horticulture/landscaping
  • Personal social skills/independent living skills
  • Auto detailing

Photos of the tour are available for media use: