The Association for Equity in Funding today released two maps that give a clear picture of the inequities in school funding and the burden experienced by nondisabled students to cover the costs of special education.
The first map shows the wide disparity in funding available to districts in the state. In blue, you see districts that get $12,000 or more to educate their students. In red, you see districts stuck at the bottom of the funding equation. These districts get $10,000 or less per student. This is unfair, illogical, and unacceptable. It’s based on a 1993 funding plan that was intended to be temporary. The legislature’s 2022-2024 budget did nothing to address these inequities.
The second map shows the dollar amounts taken from the education of every nondisabled student to cover the costs of special education. Since districts are required by law to provide special education services, and the state covers only about 30% of the costs, districts are then required to take money from regular education to cover special education costs. This map shows how much districts are transferring into special education for each student without an IEP. In other words, since the state created an unfunded mandate, nondisabled kids are losing. Districts will continue to do the right thing—educate students with disabilities. However, we also want to provide an excellent education to all students. We should not be taking major funding from the regular education classroom to cover these extra costs. The legislature’s 2022-2024 budget did very little to address these costs.