Grafton educator goes all out for kids with disabilities

Alan Borsuk:

Recently, Pledl, who has the title of “school to life coordinator” at Grafton High, also has put a lot of that energy and enthusiasm into an idea that could lead to more kids with substantial disabilities statewide having opportunities for transitioning from school to positive situations in life, particularly involving work.

In the enormous and complex work of creating a state budget for the next two years, the plan Pledl has been supporting is a relatively small matter. It’s a good example of the many programs and proposals that usually attract little, if any, attention, but which could have impact on people’s lives.

The budget process will move into a crucial stage in the next several days with the release of updated forecasts for state revenue. What gets put into and left out, what gets changed from Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal of three months ago, and who wins and loses in the end will be affected by how much money is forecast to be available. Indications last week were that the new estimate is not going to offer the rosy increases all sorts of people have been hoping for.

Where will that leave increased support for the idea Pledl is promoting?

Pledl has already accomplished a lot more than I would have bet. He’s been a car salesman and, yes, a football coach and he’s good at winning people over. As Mel Lightner, superintendent of the Grafton School District says, a lot of educators are not good sales people for ideas that open doors for their students. But as for Pledl, Lightner says, “He’s a salesman.” And he really wants to open doors for his students.