PSEA President: School funding crisis impacts students with special needs
PSEA President Mike Crossey testified before the General Assembly's Special Education Funding Commission during an August 22 hearing.
“Pennsylvania's school funding crisis has grown worse, and across the state all students - including those with special learning needs - are losing educational opportunities,” said Crossey.
“While the costs and mandates for effectively educating students with special needs have increased over the years, federal and state funding for these services have not,” Crossey said.
“The federal government has walked away from its original commitment to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and over the past five years we've watched the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania freeze funding for the special education line item in the state budget, while deeply cutting the other instructional line items that support all students,” Crossey said. “The result is systemic underfunding of education programs.”
“Enacting a sound, rational funding formula for special education - and all public education in Pennsylvania - is essential,” Crossey added. “The current system of distributing funds based on average costs rather than actual costs of services harms districts with higher than average percentages of special education students or higher than average costs.
This results in a number of districts having insufficient funds to deliver the services they are required to provide and that students need.”
Read Crossey's full testimony here.
PSEA recently updated an online calculator on the association's website, documenting Pennsylvania's school funding crisis. The calculator, which shows how much state funding for local schools has dropped since Gov. Corbett took office, is available at www.psea.org/schoolcuts.