Special Education Spending Declines

By Shaun Heasley

Funding for special education has fallen in recent years, according to a new report which finds that many school districts are spending less per student today than they did in 2008.

The analysis from the the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities indicates that federal spending on students with disabilities is down 11 percent since 2010.

The decline is at least partly due to sequestration — the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that took effect earlier this year — the report said.

This comes as many states also reduced their total education spending. At least 34 states will spend less per student this year than they did before the recession began, the analysis found. In 13 states, such cuts amounted to more than 10 percent.

“In the long term, the savings from today’s cuts may cost states much more in diminished economic growth,” wrote report authors Michael Leachman and Chris Mai of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “At a time when the nation is trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, large cuts in funding for basic education undermine a crucial building block for future prosperity.”

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