Fiscal Aspects – Public
Funding for special education has historically been less than the identified needs. The fiscal support for special education programs and services are provided through a combination of local, state and federal revenue sources. Federal revenues have remained at less than half the federal commitment for many years. State entitlement funding has had significant deficits, leaving district general funds to make up the difference. The state’s method of allocating funds for special education shifted from a classroom-based model to a type of categorical per capita funding, using the total average daily attendance (ADA) of a SELPA as the basis for allocations. Several fiscal and administrative benefits have been enhanced by the change from LEA funding to SELPA-wide funding:
Improvements in Funding Equity: Comparing the SELPA-wide calculated average funding level per pupil (ADA) with the statewide average, movement toward regional equity is being achieved.
Flexible Funding Allocations within SELPA: Allocation of funds to the SELPA’s governance structure allows local decision making regarding support for specific types of district and regional programs, the provision of greater equity according to local needs such as low incidence services, areas of scarcity within a SELPA, and/or reducing district reliance on nonpublic schools and agencies.
Increased Accountability to Parents and Public: The funding structure for special education calls for annual presentation and approval of both a Budget Plan for each and every SELPA, as well as the Service Plan for the SELPA, assuring parents, boards, and the public that all students with disabilities are being appropriately served.
Coordinated Staff Development Programs: Through the use of SELPA Program Specialists and other regional staff, a broader base of specialized training and instructional support programs can be provided to keep teachers and other staff aware of improvements and instructional strategies and increase collaboration with general