School, Csel: “6,085 Municipalities receiving resources for assistance to pupils with disabilities”

The start of the new school year is almost upon us. A novelty that, hopefully, will help to break down barriers for pupils with disabilities who attend Italian schools is the allocation of 200 million euros for assistance in autonomy and communication. There are 6,085 municipalities that are recipients of this fund, which is half assigned to the municipal administrations and half destined to the Regions, which in turn will disburse contributions to the Provinces and Metropolitan Cities. To allocate for the first time these resources, the distribution of which was recently determined by the Interior Ministry, was the Budget Law 2022. As emerges from an elaboration by Centro Studi Local Entities (CSEL) based on data from the Ministry of the Interior, ministry for disabilities, the ministry for regional affairs and autonomies, 37% of these sums were assigned to entities in Northern Italy, 22% to the Center and 34% to the South and islands. The obligation to provide “assistance for the autonomy and personal communication of pupils with physical and sensory handicaps”, guaranteeing “support activities through the assignment of specialized teachers”, had been introduced for local authorities already by law no. 104 of 1992. “In fact, Istat certified that, compared to the 268,671 students with disabilities enrolled last year in Italian schools of all levels (source: Ministry of Education), during the school year 2019/2020 only 57 thousand assistants in autonomy and communication were operational throughout the country, about one for every 4.6 pupils with disabilities “, remembers Csel. “A dossier of the Senate Budget Service, released in December 2021, also indicated that the number of pupils with support who during the 2018-2019 school year could not count on the support of an assistant in autonomy and communication, although they needed it, was 16,188 “, he adds. Autonomy and communication assistants are professional figures distinct from the support teacher. These are socio-educational operators who should support students with sensory, psychophysical and autistic disabilities to favor their scholastic integration and guarantee them the full right to study. Their function is that of mediators and facilitators of communication, learning, integration and the relationship between pupils, families, classes, teachers and specialist services. The share of 100 million euros of the ‘Fund for assistance to the autonomy and communication of pupils with disabilities’ of municipal competence was divided among the individual bodies in proportion to the number of pupils with physical or sensory disabilities enrolled in the school year that ends in that of assignment of the contribution in kindergarten, primary and lower secondary schools of each municipality. Overall, the 1,246 Lombard municipalities affected by the provision received 21% of these resources (€ 20,867,816) . Instead, the 487 Campania municipalities on the list received 10,788,483 euros and the 396 Lazio municipalities were assigned 10 million and 264,818 euros. Not far away is Sicily with 10,107,228 euros for 369 entities, Veneto with 7,111,080 euros for 528 administrations and Emilia Romagna with 6,630,483 euros for 312 municipalities. Also on the list are: 251 Apulian entities that have been assigned 6,457,722 euros globally, 706 Piedmontese entities (6,084,305 euros), 259 Tuscan municipalities (5,125,067 euros), 337 Calabrian administrations (2,834,154 euros) , 280 Sardinian entities (2,601,197 euros), 198 municipalities in the Marche region (2,553,235 euros) and 154 Ligurian administrations which received a total of 2,296,296 euros. 2,248,334 euros, Friuli Venezia Giulia with 1,526,949 for 176 municipalities, Umbria with 1,445,707 euros for 87 entities, Basilicata with 669,997 euros for 198 administrations and the 75 municipalities of Molise which have had, globally, contributions for 387,120 EUR. The largest sums were assigned, in order, to Rome (4,185,896 euros), Milan (2,462,695 euros), Naples (2,139,686 euros), Palermo (1,329,718 euros), Catania (1,124,167 euros) and Turin (1,074,248 euros). As regards the resources prerogative of the provinces and metropolitan cities, which will be conveyed by the regions, an allocation hypothesis was formulated in a decree scheme of the Minister for Disabilities and the Minister for Regional Affairs and Autonomies. Should this be confirmed, a total of 2,979,315 euros should arrive in Abruzzo, 1,072,553 euros in Basilicata, 4,379,593 euros in Calabria, 13,209,715 euros in Campania, 9,313,906 euros in Emilia Romagna, 11,029 euros in Lazio. 141 euros, 3,243,197 euros in Liguria, 15,583,236 euros in Lombardy, 3,351,020 euros in the Marche, 665,380 euros in Molise, 7,773,175 euros in Piedmont, 9,750,873 euros in Puglia, 8,834,378 euros in Tuscany, 2,323,866 euros in Umbria and, finally, 6,490,651 euros in Veneto.