Education Advocates Call for Boost in Special-Ed Funding
Thursday, April 12, 2018
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Two dozen disability-rights groups, child- and education-advocacy organizations have signed on to a letter asking lawmakers to increase funding for special education.
The more than 270,000 students in special education in Pennsylvania are legally entitled to additional supports and services. They may need access to certified school psychologists, therapists, nurses and specially trained teachers.
But from 2008 to 2014, state aid for special ed was frozen while costs continued to climb. According to Reynelle Staley, policy attorney with the Education Law Center, state funding has increased in recent budgets, but there's still a long way to go.
"The state has an obligation to catch up and to meet the expenses of students across the state,” says Staley, “and to reduce the burden that local districts are carrying as a result of the state's failure to adequately fund special education."
The groups want the Legislature to approve Governor Tom Wolf's proposal for $20 million in additional special-education funding.
Staley adds that special education also is tied to overall funding through the state's need-based funding formula. The advocates are urging legislators to approve both the increase in special-ed funds, and the proposed $100 million of additional basic education funds.
"Neither is nearly close to enough to meet the adequacy gap that exists in our state,” says Staley, “but we think they're an important first step to addressing students' needs."
She says ten years ago there was an estimated $380 million funding gap for special education, and the cost of delivering services has been rising faster than state funding.
get more stories like this via email
The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…
High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …
As the federal government nears a shutdown over a budget impasse in Congress, Wisconsin offices that help low-income individuals worry they'll have …
Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …
Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …
A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …
Connecticut advocates are keen to see what will come from the recently established White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. The new office …
A new report ranks Illinois first among 11 Midwestern states for the amount of clean power capacity under construction, and second for new clean …