Special education costs are rising much faster in Pennsylvania than state aid — causing local taxpayers to foot most of the bill, while also stretching school budgets thin and increasing inequities between rich and poor districts, according to a new report by a duo of advocacy groups.
The Education Law Center and PA Schools Work found that for every new dollar Harrisburg spent on special education between 2008 and 2016, school districts spent $20.
During that time, districts saw their special education costs rise $1.54 billion while the state chipped in just $71 million.
This report arrives five years after the state implemented a new special education funding formula that was supposed to make life easier for districts. But advocates say lawmakers haven’t sent enough money through the formula to make an impact.