WASHINGTON, D.C. — UW-Madison public schools will close summer and winter school for all students with learning disabilities, but the school district will offer summer and other academic programs to students with other disabilities, including students with epilepsy and people with hearing and visual impairments.
The Wisconsin Department of Education says in a statement the summer school will be open to students without learning disabilities and students with sensory impairments, including hearing and vision impairments who meet other criteria.
Students who are accompanied by an individual who has a learning disability or hearing impairment will be able to enroll at UW-WISU for a full-day school week.
A statement from the Wisconsin Department Of Education said, “The Department of Public Instruction has been working to ensure that students with certain learning disabilities are treated equally and with dignity and respect.
Students with a learning or sensory disability will be treated with dignity, respect and courtesy, the statement said.
The announcement comes as school districts across the nation are grappling with the challenges of low enrollment and rising costs.
The state Department of Health reports that the number of students with a disability in the state has grown by 1.2 percent between 2013 and 2019.
The average cost for a student with a mobility disability is $9,100, and the average cost of a student who has limited English proficiency is $5,600.
The percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch in Wisconsin has risen by nearly 25 percent over the last two years.
The school district has been facing criticism for having a summer program for students without disabilities that was created in the early 2000s for special needs students.
That program was canceled when state lawmakers approved a $100 million federal grant program to help fund more specialized summer programs for students who have learning disabilities.