Financing Special Education: State Funding Formulas

Source: Eileen Ahearn, Project Forum, April 2010

The cost of educating students with disabilities and how to fund their services have been the subject of a number of studies since 1982 that were conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) and/or projects conducted by the American Institutes for Research’s (AIR) Center for Special Education Finance (CSEF). CSEF was funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education, from 1992 to 2004.

This study is an update of the 1999-2000 CSEF survey of state special education funding formulas. Current information on this topic was gathered through a survey of state special education directors conducted by Project Forum at NASDSE in conjunction with Tom Parrish and Jenifer Harr-Robins of AIR. The current survey and this document address only mechanisms for distributing state dollars to local districts under state law and policy. Project Forum at NASDSE completed this document as part of its cooperative agreement with OSEP.

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