California State Special Education Funding System Study, Part 2: Findings, Implications, and Considerations for Improving Special Education Funding in California
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 nearly 725,000 students with disabilities in California. To increase equitable outcomes for these students, who comprise nearly 12 percent of California’s K–12 population, state-decision-makers agree that more research and evidence-based policy recommendations are needed to improve California’s system for special education funding.
To help inform state-level decision-making regarding the allocation, distribution, and spending expectations for state special education dollars, WestEd conducted a comprehensive descriptive review of the current funding system (Part 1).
Part 2, detailed in this report, examines comprehensive amounts of 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 respond to the needs of the state’s growing population 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
Download the Executive Summary.
Find the first report from the study at WestEd.org/ca-special-education-funding-system-study.
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