Special education accounted for more than 16 percent—$9.3 billion-of K-12 spending in 2006-07. An extensive reform of special education financing in California about a decade ago sought to improve the way the state funds education for the disabled, who make up about 10 percent of public school students. Did reform achieve its goals? In large part, yes-but more can be done. The author suggests that to realize reform’s equity goals, policymakers could equalize base funding rates and make adjustments for local conditions such as numbers of low-income students and regional labor market wage levels.
This report was funded with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.