Special education costs in Northeast Pennsylvania school districts increased by $110 million over nine years — straining budgets as districts try to deliver the education they are legally required to provide.
School districts received little additional help from the state.
During that time period — from the 2008-09 to the 2016-17 school years — state funding for special education in 37 NEPA school districts increased by only $7 million, according to a report from Education Law Center- Pennsylvania and PA Schools Work. That means that on average, for every additional $15 a district spent on special education, the state only provided $1.
In Wilkes-Barre Area School District, special education costs spiked 114% — the sixth-largest percentage hike statewide. The district spent $20.7 million in special education costs in the 2016-17 school year compared to about $9.7 million in the 2008-09 school year. State funding during that time frame rose just $640,808.
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