From the Director’s Desk:
A recent piece of legislation, House Substitute for SB 16, proposes to remove the special education funding requirement of 92% of excess cost. It doesn’t replace the 92% figure with a lower number, it just removes it. Kind of makes you wonder – what might funding for special needs children look like in the future? It also brings up the annual question, “What is excess cost and how is it determined?” The first question, I can’t answer but the second, I can.
Excess cost is determined by the steps established in KSA 72-3422. Excess cost can be defined as the cost over and above the regular education cost of educating special education students.
There are 11 steps in the process outlined in KSA 72-3422.
Steps 1 – 3 calculate the per pupil cost of regular education.
Steps 4 – 5 calculate the regular education cost of educating special education students.
A simple way to understand the regular education cost of educating handicapped children can be seen with an example of a handicapped student, Johnny. Johnny has a speech IEP and receives services 2x/week in the special education setting. No inclusion services are identified in the IEP. The cost related to teaching reading, math, etc. are the same for Johnny as they are for all other students. The additional cost (excess cost) in Johnny’s case comes from the costs associated with the speech services he receives.
Step 6 determines the amount of Federal funding for educating handicapped children.
Step 7 determines other miscellaneous income sources.
In step 8, the total calculated in steps 6 and 7 is added to the total established in step 5.
Step 9 determines the total amount spent by all agencies on the provision of special education services.
In step 10, we subtract the total established in step 8 from the total established in step 9. That resulting sum is the total excess cost of providing special education services for handicapped children.
Step 11 multiplies the sum in step 10 by 92% to determine the amount of special education funding to be recommended by the Kansas State Board of Education.
KSA 72-3422 provides an effective model through which we can determine cost and determine funding for the education of handicapped children. Removing those steps from the school funding legislation doesn’t sound like the best way to meet the needs of all children.