Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday signed into law House Bill 2 to create a panel to examine special education funding for school districts. Funding for school special education programs is based on an estimate that the average daily enrollment of each school district includes 16 percent of students with special education needs. The law aims to change that disbursement method, as the panel is tasked to look different funding methods, including a three-tier weighted system based on the severity of a student’s disability. State special education funding has remained flat at around $1 billion for at least the past five years. But there won’t be any immediate impact on what the state spends, as the 15-member commission will issue its findings at the end of September. Rep. Bernie O’Neill, R-Bucks, and Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, both worked over the past two years to advance the law, which moved easily through the Legislature this session. Source: Capitolwire
HB 2 defines three levels for special ed funding for all public schools – traditional, cyber charter, and brick and mortar charter. This is exactly the same bill that was introduced in the last session and to which the charter reform legislation was attached. Sponsors of the earlier bill decoupled it from the charter reform legislation and ran it separately. Overwhelming bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate. PCPCS supports it for two reasons – it brings more logic and equity to special education funding and treats charter schools exactly the same as traditional public schools.