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August 9, 2018

Education Reform at the Administrative Level

The Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup focused on two major reform areas that have a direct impact on both education quality and property taxes: School District Regionalization and Special Education. School districts with less than 1,000 students cost taxpayers 10 percent to 15 percent more per pupil than larger districts and are unable to provide as diverse a curriculum. Meanwhile, extraordinary special education costs that should be a state responsibility burden local school districts and property taxpayers, and too often prevents parents from getting the education their children need and deserve.

Recommendations:

  • Merge all K-4, K-5, K-6, K-8, and K-9 school districts into K-12 regional districts to improve the quality of education and promote efficiency.
  • Permit the establishment of two countywide school district pilot programs.
  • Move toward full State funding and administration of Extraordinary Special Education.
  • Establish a State-level group to address students for whom an Individual Evaluation Placement (IEP) team is considering a residential program.
  • Establish a Special Education Study Commission to review the current capitation formula that provides all districts with the same special education aid regardless of how many special education students they serve.
  • Reform the hearing process for special education placements and disputes by appointing Office of Administrative Law judges with experience in special education who would hear only special education cases within the 60-day timeline.
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