Hopefully, I have your attention with my headline. The Legislature’s Education Committee has held a hearing on fast-tracking the elimination of the state’s Child Development Services and providing services to the 3- to 5-year-old population of special-needs children through public schools.

L.D. 1870 was introduced late last month and hustled through committee without, to my knowledge, any hard facts and figures of how this, if successful, will impact local school budgets, let alone be implemented. It’s like other legislation that I’ve challenged over my nearly 20 years of advocating for special-needs children, from birth to age 5.

It boils down to “the-cart-before-the-horse” mentality. Three big areas of concern:

Where is the funding coming from? The state?

Is there staffing and space to provide for the additional clients starting at age 3?

Some clients will need to be serviced outside of school. So add transportation to the mix.

Please read the March 27 front-page Press Herald article, “Critics say bill to shift special education services for children lacks details, clear funding” and the well-written Maine Voices column by a parent March 26 on Page A4. May these articles be of interest to you, whether you’re a parent of a special-needs student or not. We must always remember that these uniquely neat young people did not ask to be born with special needs.

Having had a longtime relationship with CDS as a grandparent and an adviser, both at the local and state level, I know that those professionals who make up and give CDS’ services are highly qualified, dedicated and caring. Sadly, over the years, with their budgets being decimated, the system has lost outstanding providers.

No wonder Education Commissioner Bob Hasson was quoted March 27 about students not getting services. When you dry up the funding well, the providers are just not there.

Is this just another play by Augusta to pass more education funding to the locals?

Howard Wright Sr.

East Boothbay