Budget cuts to Special Olympics could affect thousands of Fresno kids

Thursday, March 28, 2019
Budget cuts to Special Olympics could affect thousands of Fresno kids
Facing mounting criticism from angry athletes and parents, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is being forced to defend her plan to kill Special Olympics funding.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The attacks were nearly immediate on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Her proposal to kill federal funding for the Special Olympics prompted national outrage, riling up people like David Solo.

"The cuts would be significant to us, we definitely would have to put together a plan of attack," he said.

DeVos announced the proposal on Tuesday that would eliminate the group's $17.6 million funding.

RELATED: Betsy DeVos' 2020 budget request proposes cuts to Special Olympics

David Solo is the President of the Northern California Special Olympics.

He believes the cuts would hurt their mission to help those with disabilities feel less isolated.

"It's an incredible thing; we are improving the self-esteem of these athletes," Solo said. "We're helping them become successful outside of school."

DeVos has repeatedly stated she supports the organization but believes there is enough private support to raise the necessary money.

"I think the Special Olympics is a fantastic organization. one that is well supported by the philanthropic sector as well," DeVos said.

Solo says if the cuts pass, his chapter will lose $300,000 in funding.

That money serves 15,000 students in Fresno in over 60 schools.

He is confident that the community's support will change minds like it has done before on Capitol Hill.,