Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency have established a program to connect eligible students with severe cognitive disabilities with additional support for the critical services they require.
The Supplementary Special Education Services program will help connect Texas families to high-quality, personalized services through a one-time funding allocation that aims to help offset learning disruptions related to COVID-19, Gov. Abbott's office said.
Families that qualify will have access to a targeted spending account to purchase services costing up to $1,500 dollars per eligible student.
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According to the office of Gov. Abbott, through this funding source, Texas families can purchase supplemental supports such as tutoring, therapy, and digital resources through vendors approved by the TEA.
These purchased services are intended to be supplementary and will not remove responsibility from Texas public school systems to provide the educational services outlined in each eligible student's Admission, Review, and Dismissal plan, Gov. Abbott's office said.
The families of students that have been identified as having a low incidence disability and were enrolled in public school during the 2020-2021 school year that were enrolled during the initial COVID-19 closures will qualify for the program.
According to Gov. Abbott's office, nearly 59,000 students statewide are eligible for the program.
Priority will be given to families receiving income assistance or have documented financial need, Gov. Abbott's office said.
"This program is a win for Texas families and children with special education needs, many of whom have endured education disruptions due to COVID-19," Gov. Abbott said. "Education is vital to the future of every Texas child, and every student is entitled to a high-quality education. The SSES program further advances Texas' mission to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. This innovative initiative builds on the services that students are already receiving at school, and provides additional resources and support at a pivotal moment in the lives of Texas families and their children."