What is the special education funding (SEF) formula?
What is the special education funding (SEF) formula? The $1 billion in state special education funding is distributed to school districts annually based on a formula developed by a Special Education Funding Commission. The Commission, which approved the formula in 2014, recognized that special education costs are driven by the special education needs of the individual students in each school district. While some special education students require minimal additional programs, services and supports, other students require additional investments that could exceed $100,000 annually. The SEF formula also includes a local wealth factor and a local tax effort factor.
Like the basic education funding formula, the SEF formula distributed a portion of the total SEF dollars via a formula designed to be dynamic and drive resources to the school districts with the highest special education needs and costs.
Also like the basic education funding formula, the SEF formula has a base year—2013-14—which means that each school district will always receive what it received in SEF in 2013-14. All the new dollars put into the SEF line item after 2013-14 are combined each year and distributed through the new SEF formula. With changing data each year, each school district’s share of the formula-driven funding will change based on their special education population. The rest of this week, we'll cover the components and mechanics of the SEF formula.
Click on the map below to view the total SEF dollars received by each school district in 2016-17 and the change in state special education funding from 2013-14.