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MASS Special Needs Task Force SPECIAL EDUCATION FINANCE POLICY Sheldon Berman Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.

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Presentation on theme: "MASS Special Needs Task Force SPECIAL EDUCATION FINANCE POLICY Sheldon Berman Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents."— Presentation transcript:

1 MASS Special Needs Task Force SPECIAL EDUCATION FINANCE POLICY Sheldon Berman Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents

2 MASS Special Needs Task Force THE DILEMMA The foundation formula was built on the assumption that school districts were not effectively containing costs and were inappropriately identifying children as having special needs. In contrast, MASS found that for most of the 1990s school districts reduced the percent of students in special education programs. However, districts were still experiencing cost increases that seriously compromised their regular education program and the goals of education reform.

3 MASS Special Needs Task Force SPED ENROLLMENT

4 MASS Special Needs Task Force COST TRENDS

5 MASS Special Needs Task Force HEALTH COSTS

6 MASS Special Needs Task Force COST INCREASES

7 MASS Special Needs Task Force CONTINUED COST INCREASES

8 MASS Special Needs Task Force COST TRENDS

9 MASS Special Needs Task Force TRANSPORTATION COSTS ESCALATING

10 MASS Special Needs Task Force TRANSPORTATION COSTS 95-05

11 MASS Special Needs Task Force SPECIAL ED AND ED REFORM The cost increases were equivalent to a large share of new ed reform aid from FY93 to FY99. For 56% of districts SPED increases exceeded 50% of new state aid. For 29% districts SPED increases exceeded 100% of new state aid.

12 MASS Special Needs Task Force OMINOUS PRESCHOOL TRENDS FY85-FY01: 199% increase in special needs preschool enrollments in contrast to a 20.4% increase for all other sped prototypes In FY02, the DOE reporting date was moved back from Dec. to Oct., thereby reducing the number of preschool enrollments FY02-FY06: 15% increase in special needs preschool enrollments in contrast to a 7% increase for all other sped prototypes

13 MASS Special Needs Task Force OMINOUS PRESCHOOL TRENDS

14 MASS Special Needs Task Force OTHER OMINOUS TRENDS FY92-FY06: 197% increase in 0-3 year olds with significant disabilities served by Early Intervention CY83-CY05: 181% increase in confirmed child maltreatment cases FY90-05: 213% Increase in nursing and health related care costs

15 MASS Special Needs Task Force OTHER OMINOUS TRENDS

16 MASS Special Needs Task Force OTHER OMINOUS TRENDS

17 MASS Special Needs Task Force OTHER OMINOUS TRENDS OSD approved salary relief for private sped schools $2.5 million increase for FY07 for tuition to 18 schools $??? Million increase for FY08 for tuition to potentially 180 schools Notification deadline for FY08 will be Dec. 15

18 MASS Special Needs Task Force THE REALITY A significant factor in the increase in costs has been the rapid rise of children with moderate and serious disabilities in early intervention and preschool programs.

19 MASS Special Needs Task Force FINDINGS The cost of special education increased at a significantly greater rate than that of regular education from FY90 to FY05. Special education consumes a significantly higher percentage of most school districts budgets and a disproportionate share of new funds allocated to education. Increases in the number of children and severity of disability of children served by Early Intervention and special needs preschool programs indicate that these trends will continue.

20 MASS Special Needs Task Force MAJOR CAUSES OF INCREASED COSTS Advances in medical technology Deinstitutionalization of special needs children and privatization of services Consequences of a higher percentage of children living in poverty Increase in families experiencing social and economic stress.

21 MASS Special Needs Task Force THE PROBLEM Is not caused by district policy and practice but rather medical, economic, and social factors. Is exacerbated by the lack of adequate funding at a state and federal level for special education and early childhood programs.

22 MASS Special Needs Task Force THE DILEMMA Children are entering our programs with significantly greater special needs and these needs are often identified at a very early age. We need a solution that addresses the financial crisis emerging in many districts while at the same time meeting the real and substantial needs of these children. We need a solution that does not blame the children or those working with these children and does not place the primary burden on local communities, but addresses the real causes of the problem.

23 MASS Special Needs Task Force THE LONG TERM SOLUTION Provide financial relief to school districts and communities for the rising special education costs through increased aid Address the medical, social, and economic issues that cause children to require special education.

24 MASS Special Needs Task Force THE CIRCUIT BREAKER Provided significant state relief for children requiring high cost special education services For the first time, provided aid for in-district students and private day placements Significantly increased state funding for special education Proposed: 90% above 3x foundation ($23,712) Passed: 75% above 4x foundation ($31,616) In FY05, it was 11.5%of total special education spending In FY06, it is likely to be 10%.

25 MASS Special Needs Task Force INCREASED STATE AID

26 MASS Special Needs Task Force CIRCUIT BREAKER AND SPED EXPENDITURES 11.5% of sped spending

27 MASS Special Needs Task Force CIRCUIT BREAKER AND SPED WITH SPED TRANSPORTATION EXPENDITURES 10.4% of sped spending With sped transportation

28 MASS Special Needs Task Force INCLUDING SPED TRANSPORTATION IN THE CIRCUIT BREAKER Foundation budget for special education covered only 48.8% of sped expenditures including sped transportation in FY05. There is no state support for sped transportation in spite of the regional nature of transportation for out-of- district special education students. Special education transportation costs have been growing at almost 2x the rate of regular education transportation and doubled between FY95 and FY05, creating serious hardships for districts. Special education transportation is a basic component of serving high cost special education children and, therefore, should be part of the Circuit Breaker formula.

29 MASS Special Needs Task Force SPED FOUNDATION BUDGET ISSUES Locks in the percent of students in special education in-district (3.75%) and out-of- district (1%) Seriously underestimates special education services and tuitions Expenditure on services is 284% of foundation in FY04 Expenditure of sped tuitions is 319% of foundation in FY04

30 MASS Special Needs Task Force FOUNDATION BUDGET ISSUES

31 MASS Special Needs Task Force FOUNDATION BUDGET INADEQUACY 54% of actual spending

32 MASS Special Needs Task Force FOUNDATION BUDGET INADEQUACY 48.8% of actual spending

33 MASS Special Needs Task Force POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Increase the circuit breaker for FY08 to address OSD approved salary upgrades for private 766 schools Adjust the foundation budget to accurately account for special education costs Lower the circuit breaker threshold to 3x or 3.5x foundation or increase the reimbursement to 80% Include special education transportation in the circuit breaker Restructure out-of-district special education transportation with the hub being the private school

34 MASS Special Needs Task Force RESTRUCTURING SPED TRANSPORTATION Currently, districts rely on themselves or on education collaboratives for out-of-district sped transportation Collaboratives transport or contract for transportation services for all students within the collaborative region to all private sped schools attended by these students. Therefore, there are overlapping routes going to the same private school

35 MASS Special Needs Task Force PROBLEMS WITH THE CURRENT SYSTEM Overlapping routes and inefficiencies Diverse vehicles from taxis to handicapped accessible mini-buses Planning is complex: multiple students to multiple schools Traffic congestions and delays at the private schools Lack of training for drivers and transportation monitors

36 MASS Special Needs Task Force CORE CONCEPTS OF A RESTRUCTURED APPROACH Each private school serves as the hub for planning services for all students at the school Each collaborative would provide or bid transportation for the private schools in its region for all students at the school The collaborative becomes the central point of contact and organization

37 MASS Special Needs Task Force CASE STUDY

38 MASS Special Needs Task Force BENEFITS Fewer routes and more efficient routing that saves costs With routing based in one school, larger groups of children can be transported together, reducing the number of vehicles Eases congestion at the school Easier to provide higher quality drivers and monitors One stop complaint management for parents and school Potential for multiple uses for busses such a field trips Improves quality of students education experience

39 MASS Special Needs Task Force PILOT PROGRAM 3 Collaboratives Assabet Valley Collaborative ACCEPT Collaborative Lower Pioneer Valley Collaborative 3 year transition to new structure Includes evaluation to determine cost effectiveness Requires $300,000 each year

40 MASS Special Needs Task Force This PowerPoint is available at the MASS website. www.massupt.org


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