Governor Kelly Visits Shawnee Mission SouthHigh School to Discuss Importance ofFully Funding SPED

SHAWNEE MISSION – Today, Governor Laura Kelly visited Shawnee Mission South High School for a tour and a series of discussions with high school and post-secondary students, teachers, school administrators, and parents on the importance of fully funding special education in Kansas. 

“Fully funding special education would benefit every student in Kansas,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “As we saw at Shawnee Mission South High School today, increased special education funding would allow Kansas schools to hire and retain more teachers, invest in sports and other after-school activities, and better support parents’ involvement in their kids’ education. Let’s ensure our public dollars go toward the public schools that give every Kansas student an opportunity to succeed.”

Governor Kelly was given a tour by Dr. Michelle Hubbard, Superintendent of Shawnee Mission School District, and Dr. Todd Dain, Principal of Shawnee Mission South High School. She then joined students, teachers, and parents to highlight the ways in which fully funding special education could benefit our schools, hearing perspectives from:   

  • Students in gifted programs; 
  • Parents of children in special education programs; 
  • Student athletes in Unified Sports, a sports program that includes participants with and without intellectual disabilities; 
  • Staff that specialize in special education; and 
  • Post-secondary students.  

What They’re Saying:

“Throughout her career, Governor Kelly has been a powerful voice supporting public education. As an educator who began her career in special education, I am deeply grateful for the Governor’s willingness to advocate for the needs of all students in Kansas, including those with special needs,” said Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard. “She understands that strong public education is pivotal to making Kansas the best place in America to raise a family, and she believes that when we fully fund special education, we help provide every Kansas student with the resources they need to succeed.”

“I love school. I love my friends, my paras, and my teachers,” said Sarah Bridget Goddard, a student at Shawnee Mission South High School.

“Sarah Bridget loves school and because of this, she is learning more and more.  Fully funding special education means that great teachers and paras can be better compensated for their work,” said Maureen Goddard, Sarah’s mom. “We need to retain these professionals and paraprofessionals. The work is meaningful and challenging. Let us use funding to increase wages, decrease caseloads, and provide instructional tools that will allow our children to be contributing members of society. “

“Fully funding special education will help to relieve that strain that paraprofessionals, teachers, and therapists feel.  Every year we are asked to do more with less. Lessening the burden will help retain and attract qualified staff whose heart is in serving students with special needs,” said Julie Hochler, a teacher at Shawnee Mission South High School.

“There are so many aspects of special education that are extremely important! For our daughter it has been the development and nurturing of her self-confidence, self-esteem and most importantly the relationships she has developed,” said Mike Dugan, father of Shawnee Mission South High School student Libby. “These things don’t happen without the care, concern and compassion of her teachers, paras, administrators, and the programs made available to Libby! Which is all made possible by special needs funding!  Libby may be the only student I know that didn’t want a Spring Break, she wanted to be in school!”

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