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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 18, 2013 03:27 PM
From: Representative Bernie O'Neill
To: All House members
Subject: Special Education Funding Formula
I will be re-introducing HB 704, along with Senator Patrick Brown, to address the current problems with the state systems for funding and accountability of special education students with disabilities in the Commonwealth. This legislation will put into place an equitable funding formula to distribute special education dollars. This common sense legislation has now passed the House in each of the last two sessions

As you know, state funding for special education is currently distributed based on an estimate that the average daily enrollment of each district includes 16% of students with special education needs. These funds can be partially augmented by the contingency fund for students with extraordinary expenses; however, there is nothing in place to assist schools that continually struggle with higher special education costs.

Specifically, HB 704 creates a legislative commission to recommend an effective formula to distribute state funding for special education, without creating compulsory annual targets or limiting the discretion of the General Assembly; increases the accuracy of the special education formula by using three weights; establish a transparent process to determine the formula of weights through a legislative commission; streamline and strengthens school district accountability without imposing excess bureaucracy; and maintains the Contingency Fund and make it more accountable and transparent.

Over 30 organizations and counting are supportive of this essential funding change. We hope that you will join us in taking this practical and necessary step to insure the education of special education students is fairly funded.

I hope you will join me again as a co-sponsor of this legislation. If you have any questions please contact Connie McClure in my Harrisburg office at 705-7170 or by e-mailing cmcclure@pahousegop.com.

Introduced as HB2