Overhaul of Pennsylvania's special ed funding formula proposed

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Legislation intended to fix Pennsylvania's flawed system for funding special education could be a long overdue update — or it could deliver crippling financial blows to charter schools statewide, depending whether you ask traditional public school officials or charter school advocates.

Identical bills in the House and Senate are making headway in the General Assembly in an attempt to overhaul what educators and lawmakers agree is an outdated and inequitable funding formula for special education. The legislation is based on about eight months' worth of work by the Special Education Funding Commission, chaired by state Rep. Bernie O'Neill, R-19, Warminster, and state Sen. Pat Browne, R-16, Allentown.

School districts and their advocacy groups hail the proposed changes, which they say will finally reimburse schools based on the true costs to serve students with special needs.

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