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Funding Through an Equity Lens

Educational Support Services

Liz Smith

Director, Special Education Local Plan Area

When it takes more money to get the same for some students, what gives? Actually nothing gives. Although what is needed requires more resources for students with disabilities, providing appropriate services to meet unique needs is a mandate. How a school community determines priorities requires focus /fōkəs/. Focus on each student. Focus on needs. Focus on equity, rather than providing equal resources to each student.

Each year in California, and in San Luis Obispo County, the cost of educating students with disabilities increases as the number of students with disabilities increases.

As one looks at the local revenues and expenditures, a clear pattern of need emerges; need for more revenue to help students who need more get the same. Assembly Bill 428, special education finance reform, proposes solutions. It would establish a funding mechanism to support special education preschool programs, equalize funding rates across the state, provide a supplemental grant to support students with greater needs, and allow school districts the ability to calculate a declining enrollment adjustment based on district ADA.

Focus. Passing AB 428 will require sustained focus over the next few months. You will soon have an opportunity to submit letters to the Assembly Education Committee to support this bill, through a new electronic process. Think about the impact of more funding for your programs and focus your efforts on making this a reality!

Liza Smith
Director, SELPA
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

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