Browne, O’Neill introduce special education funding bills

Legislation would institute an equitable and accurate formula

Senator Pat Browne (R-16) and Representative Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks) today (June 7) introduced corresponding legislation to institute an equitable and accurate formula for the allocation of special education funding for Pennsylvania schools.

Representative O’Neill said that under the current funding system, Pennsylvania assumes a 16 percent special education population in each of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts.

“The current funding system does not reflect actual special education populations in our school districts,” Representative O’Neill said.  “The result is some districts are not getting the special funding they need.  My legislation would establish a formula which bases funding on the actual number of special needs students in a district to ensure districts are receiving appropriate funding.”

“The General Assembly has over the past few years realized that annual levels of funding for education must be based on real needs and available revenues, and, along with Representative O’Neill, we believe that the new special education formula in this legislation will distribute funds based on the right factors,” said Senator Browne.  “The accountability improvements in the legislation will help to ensure that state resources are utilized effectively by districts.”

The formula established under the legislation considers several factors to determine a district’s allocation and includes the special education allocation for a school district in a base year, the difference between the base year special education allocation and the highest annual level of the special education in the years subsequent to the base year, and the special education increase in the year for which funds are being appropriated.

The legislation also strengthens the accountability system by streamlining existing requirements for school districts to implement three-year special education plans. The Department of Education will review plans, make appropriate suggestions for improvements, and reject plans which do not meet state and federal standards.


Lesley Darrin
Senator Browne
(717) 787-1349