The average increase for
Without that figure, the average is about
The costs for special education students vary per year, but districts often budget about
Special education costs: If a child has extensive mental health or behavioral needs, requires special transportation and needs a full-time aide throughout the day, the cost to educate that child can average between
That's not the cost for every special education student, but Ioannidis and several other
"Our costs have been rising, even though the number of special education cases are holding steady," said
And that can happen at any time throughout the year if a student with special needs transfers into the district, Robinson said.
New funding formula: The variation in costs was addressed in a special education funding commission report, released in
The new formula for public schools was adopted as part of this year's final 2014-15 state budget, though a new formula has yet to be adopted for funding special education in charter schools. As part of that new formula, another
The updated formula only affects new special education funding, said Rep.
"Any money moving forward is going to be based on actual needs," Grove said.
Spending requirements: But the cost requirements of federal and state mandates for special education students are far above what schools receive, said West York Area Superintendent
"The money doesn't follow the mandate," she said.
"I'm not unhappy, but I'm not going to go around saying we resolved the special education issue," Ioannidis said.
"This is a good example of our government working," he said.
Future funding: Schreiber said he knows there are still challenges ahead in providing enough aid for special education, which in part comes from a need for more state revenue.
But Grove said schools will always say they need more funding, no matter the line item in question.
"I've never heard any school board director, any superintendent come up and say, 'Thank you for our increase this year,'" Grove said.
Some of the burden is on the state to provide for education costs, he said, but the federal government is responsible for several mandates that drive special education costs. The federal government had promised 40 percent funding for those costs, Grove said, but he can't remember federal funding ever rising more than 22 percent.
Ioannidis said the biggest question about public school funding is where it fits into state priorities.
"Our legislators and governor, as well as our commonwealth through the voters, have to decide to what extent is the state going to subsidize public education," he said.
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