Monday, March 23, 2009

State Education Mandates - Part 2

From time to time, particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. This is Part 2 in the series:

Massachusetts superintendents. School committee members and school business officers have compiled a partial list of mandates that are listed below:

Regular Education

Provide free and equal (and appropriate) education to all students from kindergarten through grade 12. We believe that Chapter 70 is underfunded by about $1.6 billion that would be required to provide necessary and mandated services.

Special Education

Districts must provide education to special education students from age three to age twenty-two. This must be done in the least restrictive environment.

The cost of providing assessments, evaluations, and specialized instructional services exceeds the funding provided by federal and state sources. In addition, non-instructional services within the review and appeal processes such as arbitration, mediation, and hearings result in extraordinary costs to the district. The personnel, administrative, and technology costs inherent in the delivery of appropriate services are exorbitant. Individual Education Plans dictate where a student must go to school, requiring outplacements and special education transportation.

Special Education Transportation

Currently, about $165 million in mandated but unreimbursed transportation costs are incurred by school districts for students in special education programs.

“504 Services” For Physically Disabled Students

School districts are required to provide students with disabilities with accommodations that will assist in their learning according to federal law. This may include any disability that is not covered by special education. Teachers must accommodate all needs written into a student’s “504 plan.” State and local options are constrained.

The full listing is available here (DOC)

Part 1 is here

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