Families across Wisconsin are reporting concerns about the quality of special education for their children with disabilities. There is finally a chance to make things better in the next state budget. The state now only covers one-quarter of all special education costs. Governor Evers is proposing an increased state reimbursement for special education costs, up to 60% from the current 24.5%. This would invest $600 million state dollars into special education, reducing pressure on local districts that are currently struggling to cover the needs of students with disabilities.
Unfortunately, some legislative leaders do not believe this investment in special education is necessary.
Legislators need to hear from families, students, educators and education advocates about the importance of a new special education investment. Call or email your legislator now: 1-800-362-9472 https://legis.wisconsin.gov/
- Listen to our April 2 webinar on Protecting and Improving Special Education in the budget. Play recording
- View the April 2 webinar slides.
- Background on special education funding in Wisconsin.
- Read the special education stories hundreds of families statewide in this report.
- Special education funding has not increased across Wisconsin in the last decade and parents are reporting the impact on their children with disabilities.
- Governor Evers’ proposed state budget calls for a significant increase in special education funding.
- Currently, the state covers just one-quarter of all special education costs.
- The Governor’s proposal would increase special education cost reimbursement to 60% by 2021.
- This would provide a critical increase of $600 million in state funding to local districts.
- The state’s commitment to pick up a greater share of special education costs would free up local taxpayer dollars to improve education for all students and invest in other local funding priorities.
Find information on your school district to share with your legislator:
- Special education funding map – See how much would your district receive with a 60% state match: https://k12mps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=76db0a46ea69465bb216c8875f49c73f
- District local costs for special education from the 2015-2016 School Year: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/misc/237_special_education_aids_and_costs_memorandum_3_1_22_18.pdf
- High Costs Needs Payments for 2017-2018 (students who costs more than $30,000 annually): https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/sfs/pdf/high-cost-spec-ed-2018.pdf
- School referendum information: https://apps4.dpi.wi.gov/Referendum/CustomReporting.aspx
Steps to take NOW:
- Call your legislator to request a 60% increase in state funding for special education: 1-800-362-9472
- Include your personal story and photo of your child.
- Contact Senator Luther Olsen, education lead for the Joint Finance (budget) Committee, and share your story of how lack of special education funding has affected your child and your school district. Sen.Olsen@legis.wi.gov; (608) 266-0751