Each year school districts struggle to develop necessary budgets to meet the needs of students with special needs, engaging in an annual guessing game to determine staffing needs, classroom space, and public and private tuition costs. At any moment, families having several children with multiple needs may move into a district requiring Committees on Special Education to place them in similar, and often expensive, educational programs, such as BOCES or day-treatment schools; a few additional high-needs students moving into a district could send a district’s Special Education costs well over their projected budget. School districts are also encountering students with more significant social and emotional needs, resulting from drug and alcohol-related issues, poverty, violence, transiency, absentee parents, foster care and increased cases of students with ADHD and Autism. Districts have become increasingly responsible for the wellbeing of students; behavioral challenges are on the rise, as is the need for intensive psychological interventions.
The funding of Special Education must be addressed by New York State, to provide local school districts with more flexibility and financial relief given the unpredictable annual swings in the enrollment of Students with Disabilities and the high cost of programs required to fulfill their instructional needs.
We encourage our decision-makers to consider the creation of a Special Education Predictable Cost Cooperative similar to the Connecticut School Finance Project draft proposal for Special Education Predictable Cost Cooperative.
See video: http://ctschoolfinance.org/our-solutions/special-education