Rauner's budget worries parents of kids with special needs - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Rauner's budget worries parents of kids with special needs

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - More than 800 kids with special needs turned out for this year's Fishing Expedition at Bleyer Lake in southern Illinois.

While the event brings so much joy to kids, some parents say they're worried about budget cuts.

That is because Governor's Bruces Rauner's budget plan cuts into programs many of these kids in use,

That made it  hard for some of these parents to focus on today's activities.

Brandy Girtman's 10-year-old daughter is autistic.

She attends two programs through Jonesboro School District and SIUC.

Her mom says both programs will be cut under Governor Bruce Rauner's budget.

"Those programs mean everything to us," Brady Gilbert said. "And if they are canceled, my daughter has absolutely no therapy what-so-ever no education and they are going to mainstream her in to school. The governor expects her to function in a regular education 4th grade class and that can't happen."

The governor's first proposed budget called for $82 million in mental-health service cuts and the elimination of programs for those living with special needs - including Best Buddies and Project Autism.

Governor Rauner argues that for far too long, Illinois' spending exceeded what taxpayers could afford.

Girtman says it's unfair kids will be the ones paying for it.

"We want them to go to college, we want them to have jobs, we don't want them to be dependent on the state and the federal government and if they try to balance the budget on the backs of these kids they are going to be paying more in the long run for these kids,” she said.

Gilbert told me her next two options are to either move or look at private education, which she says is costly.

Rauner's proposed budget will start July 1.

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