Fiscal Policy and Funding for Special Education
Fiscal policy not only affects the levels of resources available to meet the needs of children in special education, but the way the provisions are designed can affect the ways in which services are provided. Issues related to funding and spending have been the focus of considerable policy discussion since the passage of the federal special education law in 1975, known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Aside from the Federal formula, the IDEA contains several key provisions with important fiscal implications. The chapter describes full funding, maintenance of effort, and coordinated early intervening services. Under vertical considerations, as the educational needs of certain groups of students are clearly different from others, equity can only come from systematically different funding amounts per type of student. Identifying outcome goals, those responsible for achieving them, and what happens if goals are not met are now essential issues for stakeholders to consider in setting fiscal policy and funding for special education.