Local family calls proposed education cuts ‘disheartening’

Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 18:44:15-04

ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Secretary of Education Betsy Devos wants to cut more than $7 billion in spending. She outlined the Trump administration's education budget this week on Capitol Hill.

If passed, would cut nearly $18 million in funding for Special Olympics and about $200,000 to Special Olympics Michigan.

"If we weren't to receive that funding in 2020, it would be a major hit to our program, said Aaron Mills, Special Olympics Michigan communications director. "We would have to take some money from a different part of our organization."

The funds specifically go to a program called “Unified Champion Skills.”

The program brings together traditional students and those who have special needs to practice and compete against each other.

Nick Minnema has benefited from these types of programs, and his mom says the effect of losing funding would be devastating.

“It was really disheartening knowing firsthand the benefits of Special Olympics,” Stephanie Minnema said.

She said she hopes the government continues to fund Special Olympics "to show that as a nation, we care about people that are marginal within our society."

"I've seen the absolutely good," says Minnema. "I've seen kids that come out of shells. I've seen kids that have never run before, but they will run for this."

The budget cuts affect more than just the Special Olympics. It also affects special education grants, as well as programs for the deaf and blind.