Education Funding

Mississippi District Cuts Autism Classrooms

By Jackie Mader — May 09, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A large, mostly rural school district in central Mississippi will shutter its elementary autism classrooms due to budgetary constraints and a lack of resources, according to an article in The Clarion-Ledger.

About 8 percent of the district’s students with autism are served in the special kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms, which provide services like sensory therapy and behavioral-based learning for students with more severe autism. Those classrooms require more staff members and funding than most special education and general education classrooms. Students will now be dispersed to institutions or to special education classrooms in their home schools.

An administrator from Rankin County told The Clarion-Ledger that the district would have been able to salvage the program if it was receiving full funding from the state. In the past six years, Mississippi has underfunded its schools by more than $1 billion.

Nationwide, rural districts often struggle to meet the needs of special education students. A 2010 report by the National Research Center on Rural Education Support found that autism is one of the disabilities most commonly mentioned by rural administrators as being difficult to support. Nearly half of rural districts surveyed reported difficulties in finding special education teachers, and 66 percent of districts that could not find teachers resorted to hiring teachers with emergency or provisional certifications.

In Mississippi, more than half of all public school students attend rural schools, compared to the national average of about 24 percent. The state has one of the lowest graduation rates for special education students. In the 2011-12 school year, only 32 percent of students with disabilities in Mississippi graduated within four years, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Reported Essay Are We Asking Schools to Do Too Much?
Schools are increasingly being saddled with new responsibilities. At what point do we decide they are being overwhelmed?
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Education Funding Interactive Look Up How Much COVID Relief Aid Your School District is Getting
The federal government gave schools more than $190 billion to help them recover from the pandemic. But the money was not distributed evenly.
2 min read
Education Funding Explainer Everything You Need to Know About Schools and COVID Relief Funds
How much did your district get in pandemic emergency aid? When must the money be spent? Is there more on the way? EdWeek has the answers.
11 min read
090221 Stimulus Masks AP BS
Dezirae Espinoza wears a face mask while holding a tube of cleaning wipes as she waits to enter Garden Place Elementary School in Denver for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic.
David Zalubowski/AP
Education Funding Why Dems' $82 Billion Proposal for School Buildings Still Isn't Enough
Two new reports highlight the severe disrepair the nation's school infrastructure is in and the crushing district debt the lack of federal and state investment has caused.
4 min read
Founded 55 years ago, Foust Elementary received its latest update 12-25 years ago for their HVAC units. If the school receives funds from the Guilford County Schools bond allocation, they will expand classrooms from the back of the building.
Community members in Guilford, N.C. last week protested the lack of new funding to improve the district's crumbling school facilities.
Abby Gibbs/News & Record via AP