Special Education Funding Commission


Special Education Funding Commission Briefing
January 27, 2014

Special Education Funding Commission Final Report
December 11, 2013

Thank you for your interest in the Special Education Funding Commission. The commission recommended today (December 11) that the General Assembly adopt a new formula for distributing state funding for special education in excess of 2010-11 levels.

The new formula will include factors reflecting students’ needs based on three cost categories – low (category 1), moderate (category 2) and high (category 3). The formula will also include factors reflecting community differences such as market value/personal income aid ratio, equalized millage rate and small and rural school districts.

The commission’s goals also included creating a formula that did not place undue burdens of administrative reporting on state or local education agencies while seeking to improve accuracy in distributing limited state resources. In addition, the formula does not create incentives to over-identify students with learning disabilities.

The current formula does not effectively match the needs of Pennsylvania students with the cost of providing those services. The “census formula” paid school districts based on calculations assuming that 15 percent of all students have mild disabilities and one percent have severe disabilities. Since 2008-09, Pennsylvania has not increased special education funding, effectively ending the use of a funding formula.

The Special Education Funding Commission was created with the passage of Act 3 of 2013 – which unanimously passed both the Senate and House of Representatives – and was signed into law by the Governor on April 25, 2013. Members of the commission participated in a public signing of Act 3 with the Governor on June 14, 2013 at William Tennant High School.

The 15-member panel was charged with developing methodologies for a new formula to allocate any new state special education funding in a manner that recognizes the actual number of physically- and mentally-challenged students in a school and the various levels of their need for services.

The commission held seven public hearings throughout the state in the summer and fall of this year. It listened to testimony from more than 50 witnesses ranging from students to parents to educators to experts on special education.

If you are interested in information on the Special Education Funding Commission and its mission and its finding, we encourage you to read the report on this page and view the testimony and video from the hearings.


Senator Pat Browne & Representative Bernie O’Neill


Public Hearings

August 20, 2014
State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

Public Hearing
Basic Education Funding in PA


December 11, 2013
State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

Agenda and Testimony
Final Recommendations and Release Final Report

September 26, 2013
Alvernia University, Reading, PA

Agenda and Testimony
Charter & Cyber Charter Schools


September 4, 2013
Nittany Lion Inn,
State College, PA

Agenda and Testimony
Charter & Cyber Charter Schools

August 22, 2013
Allentown School District Administration Building, Allentown, PA

Agenda and Testimony
To Consider Costs of Special Education Funding


August 7, 2013
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Agenda and Testimony
Cost Categories in Special Education Funding


July 25, 2013
Buck’s County IU #22, Doylestown, PA

Agenda and Testimony
Why Special Education Costs More to Educate


July 10, 2013
North Office Building, State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

Agenda and Testimony
Financing of Special Education


June 13, 2013
North Office Building, State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

Agenda and Testimony
How It Works for Students and Schools