Special Education Funding

The new special education funding formula recommended by the Special Education Funding Commission went into effect for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The new formula directs dollars to those school districts that have the greatest need for additional resources based upon the cost of each special education student. The recommended formula created three cost categories of special education costs and assigned a weight to each of these cost categories based upon information obtained in a survey conducted by the Independent Fiscal Office. The three cost categories and their corresponding weights are as follows:

  • Category 1: special education students costing between $1 and $24,999---weight 1.51
  • Category 2: special education students costing between $25,000 and $49,999--weight 3.77
  • Category 3: special education students costing $50,000 or more--weight 7.46

In addition to these cost categories, the recommended formula would consider and make adjustments based upon the following school district specific factors:
  • Sparsity/size ratio of each district (makes adjustments for small, rural school districts)
  • MV/PI aid ratio
  • Equalized millage rate

The new formula uses data reported by LEAs through their Act 16 reports to determine the number of students in each cost category. This means that it is critical that your Act 16 submission is as accurate as possible. Please review the guidance below on Act 16 reporting.
Once the number of students in each category is multiplied by the corresponding weight, the products for each category are added for each district, yielding a school district total weighted student count. To this weighted student count, adjustments based upon the sparsity/size ratio, MV/PI aid ratio and equalized millage multiplier would be made and any new special education dollars would be distributed to districts on a pro rata basis.

More about the new special education funding formula and the Special Education Funding Commission:

Charter School Special Education Tuition
For charter school special education tuition, the Commission recommended the use of the same three cost categories and weights that would apply to school districts. The new special education charter school tuition rate would be determined by multiplying the charter school regular education tuition rate by the appropriate category weight for each charter school special educaiton student. The Commission recommended phasing this change in over three years and also allowing for an adjustment to the weights based upon the comparison of each school district's average per student special education expenditure to the state average per student special education expenditure. The recommended changes to the charter school special education tuition calculation were not adopted, and the charter school tuition calculation remains unchanged.