By KARLI FEINSTEIN
On Monday morning, at Pace Brantley School of Special Education in Longwood Fla., Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement to eliminate the 2,000-student wait-list for The Gardiner special needs program.
Eliminating the wait-list will make it easier for kids to receive the help they need. The Gardiner Scholarship is set to begin in the 2019/20 school year and will be fully funded, according to DeSantis.
“As we’ve met with people and talked about these very valuable scholarships, the fact of the matter is we have close to two thousand families who are on the waiting list,” DeSantis said. “I have allocated enough funds to get rid of the wait list for Gardiner Scholarships entirely.”
The Gardiner Scholarship is used to provide students with disabilities funding that can be used for specialized services such as speech or occupational therapy, tuition for private school, contribution to college, instructional materials and more.
There are about 12,000 students who participate in the program. Qualifying conditions include Down Syndrome, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism. The Scholarship currently has around $124 million dollars to spend. DeSantis wants to allocate another $18.7 million to get rid of the waitlist.
Brittany Wilson, a mother of two special needs kids currently on the wait-list states, “Just having this scholarship just opens our world, it just allows me to have the confidence and the hope that I can do what’s best for them, whether it’s at home or whether it’s at a private school.”
DeSantis is doing an amazing thing in my opinion. Its already hard enough for special needs kids to live a normal life. Medical expense already cost so much leaving parents with barely enough money to send their kids to a good school. I believe eliminating the waitlist for this scholarship program will make it so much easier for parents to receive the money they need and deserve for their children.