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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 31, 2013 02:41 PM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: Special Education Funding Formula
I will be reintroducing legislation, along with Representative Bernie O'Neill, 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.

SB 1115 passed the Senate twice last session and the co-sponsors were: Dinniman, Washington, Stack, Erickson, Rafferty, Solobay, Costa, Ferlo, Vance, Brubaker, Waugh, Yudichak, Kasunic, Hughes, Schwank, Farnese, Williams, Leach, Fontana, Greenleaf, Argall, Smucker, Mensch, Boscola, Tomlinson, Tartaglione, Baker and Blake.

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, the legislation 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; establishes a transparent process to determine the formula of weights through a legislative commission; streamlines and strengthens school district accountability without imposing excess bureaucracy; and maintains the Contingency Fund and makes it more accountable and transparent.

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

If you have any questions, please contact Vicki Wilken, Esq. in my office at 787-1349 or by email at vwilken@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB470