Special education underfunded by $700 million in Michigan

Nov 28, 2017 by

The report was conducted by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s special education task force

Special education in Michigan is underfunded by nearly $700 million, a shortfall that stretches district budgets and makes it difficult to provide services and meet student needs, according to a new report .

The report, completed by a subcommittee of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s Special Education Reform Taskforce, found that Michigan schools spend $3 billion on special education services but only receive $2.4 billion in funding.

Because special education services must be provided, regardless of available state and federal funding, schools have covered the shortage by digging into their general fund budgets. That in turn has reduced the amount of dollars available to the overall student body by $459 per pupil, the report says.

“Students with developmental disabilities and learning disabilities should have access to the specialized services they need to learn,” Calley said in a statement. “While we have a long way to go to give students with special needs the resources they deserve, I’m encouraged we now have a roadmap to help us get there.”

The 11-member committee that created the report consisted of a mix of school administrators, special education advocates, a university professor and one state lawmaker — Rep. Frank Liberati, D-Allen Park.

With the goal of improving the academic performance of Michigan’s special education students, the task force put forth a series of short- and long-term recommendations, most of which involve additional funding. They include establishing funding for the state’s early intervention system for children from age birth to three, promoting the inclusion of special education students in general education classrooms, and increasing support for professional development.

Source: Special education underfunded by $700 million in Michigan, report says

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