California State Special Education Funding System Study, Part 2: Executive Summary
WestEd Study of California’s State Special Education Funding System Points to Need for Improvements that Realign Funding to the Needs of Students with Disabilities
Each year, funds from federal, state, and local sources are directed to provide special education and related services to 725,000 students with disabilities in California. To increase equitable outcomes for these students, who represent nearly 12 percent of California’s K–12 population, WestEd’s second report of a two-part study provides considerations for changes to state special education funding policy that are focused on creating a more effective and equitable funding system.
Part 2 of the study examines statewide student-level data from the 2016/17, 2017/18, and 2018/19 school years. The independent, objective study leverages proven research methods in school finance that surface findings with implications for improving the state’s special education funding system to better respond to the needs of students with disabilities.
This multi-stage, quantitative study of California’s state special education funding system culminates with findings and considerations for improvement that are presented according to the following priority areas:
- Ensuring funds reach students with the greatest need
- Prioritizing appropriate early intervention and identification
- Promoting inclusive planning, coordination, and practice
This Executive Summary highlights the major findings from Part 2 of the study. Further details are provided in the full report, which also includes a glossary of terms that will aid the reader in understanding the study results and considerations for change.
Download the full report.
To help inform state-level decision-making regarding the allocation, distribution, and spending expectations for state special education dollars, WestEd previously conducted a comprehensive descriptive review of the current funding system (Part 1).
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