IEPs and Legal Issues

State and Federal Funding for Special Education

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Joined: Feb 09, 2012
Posts: 1
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Posted Feb 09, 2012 at 12:22:46 AM
Subject: State and Federal Funding for Special Education

Hi everyone! My name is Maria Mendoza and I am doing an assignement for my online class I am taking to complete my AAS in Medical Transcription. I am here, though, specifically because I am doing a discussion on funding for special education needs in Wisconsin. Here is my post for the time being, but if any of you have an opinion or information that might help me in proving my overall argument that funding is needed for special education, please feel free to comment openly:
I live in southwest Wisconsin in a town where most people know everyone else. The state of Wisconsin has CESA organizations all across the state to help finding funding for disabled children's special education needs, both federally and locally. I feel the resources available are still not enough, though. Some of our children who might be autistic or disabled in some other way will always need special education programs, among other types of individualized special behavioral programs, as well. It is up to us as parents of these children to make sure their educational experience is satisfying, in the sense that, they will be ready for their future roles in society. In order for them to be prepared, it is our duty to make sure their special educational needs are met now.

This is just a short response of my opinion on the issue of special education funding for children that need it the most. Thank you for your time.

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Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Feb 09, 2012 7:47:28 PM


Your posting was interesting and I feel a need to provide you some assistance. The funding for special education is both complex and a "never ending story" as there could never be enough funds to meet needs of special needs children.

The state of Wisconsin has educational regional cooperatives that deliver services when needed and in demand within the various jurisdictions they serve. The basis of funding for public education inclusive of special education is comprised of state, local, and federal funds. Each district within the cooperative pays a set amount of local funds to be a part of the services available to the respective school district's need. A larger school district pays more while smaller school districts pay less.

The percentage of state, local, and federal funds may be of some shock to you in as much as the majority of funds are derived from the local district budget (about 55 % ), state funds ( about 40%) and federal funds (about 5% ). The CESA's could generate additional grant funds if they so choose to apply from various sources. Federal funds are insignificant compared to the state and local budget funds that are made available for educational services.

Although the federal funds are minimal in the larger responsibility of the state ad local government, the federal laws and judicial precedents establish a clear mandate of providing educational services at no cost to parents but these laws do not mandate a "maximum" benefit or level of service to any child. I think this is where a parent feels the heartache and concern as they view their child as needing more than what is being provided in a child's educational program but a school district is not compelled to offer the optimum service but only that which is an appropriate service. These services are determined within the IEP process. To the extent a parent does not feel these services are appropriate then the law does provide the parent an avenue of appeal.

By and large, I do believe that school districts want to do much more for disabled children than what they are able to provide. They share a parent's frustration in this regard. School personnel are as much an advocate for the child as a parent is for their own children. The solution to this dilemma of funding is a political one and parents must utilize the channels of advocacy to school board (council) members, state legislators, and others who are in responsible positions to advocate and lobby for increased funding.

Hope this provides you with some clarification of your concern.

Best wishes.


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