Sunday, April 8, 2012

"These are not new challenges for Massachusetts"

As we get into the annual budget season, one factor driving up the cost of education is the cost of delivering services for the special education students. The Milford Daily News devotes a long article to a recap of this issue and the state's underfunding of the costs back to the local school districts.

The state funding of special education was raised in a MassBudget report posted here recently

The Marlborough School Department Finance Director Adam Olivere said that because special education costs have risen so dramatically, there is an underfunding in the foundation budget, which is calculated using the average cost-per-pupil, enrollment, and inflation. Costs are rising at a much greater rate than funding each year. 
“The state uses a percentage around 5 perfect to determine what the increase in costs should be, when in actuality, special education costs are increasing as much as 15 or 20 percent each year,” Olivere said. “The foundation budget underfunds special education costs by about $1 billion, and that affects net school funding.” 
Meanwhile, the federal government has never lived up to a promise 40 years ago to cover 40 percent of the excess cost of educating students with special needs. 
“The brunt of it still is falling on the local schools to fund out of their own resources,” said Rich Robison, executive director of the Federation for Children with Special Needs and a member of the Sudbury School Committee.

Read more:

The 2011-2012 School Budget for Franklin highlights special education as one of the factors increasing the cost of education.  Additional information on the FY 2012 Budget for Franklin is collected here

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