Current law requires the department of education to distribute to each administrative unit $1,250 for each child with a disability who receives special education services from the administrative unit. The act increases the amount to $1,750 and requires the amount to increase by the rate of inflation each budget year beginning with the 2024-25 budget year.
The act increases the required annual appropriation by an additional $26.8 million to fund children who have one or more disabilities and receive special education services from an administrative unit and requires the amount to increase by the rate of inflation each budget year beginning with the 2024-25 budget year.
The act requires the special education fiscal advisory committee to submit a report to the education committees of the general assembly on or before January 1, 2023. The report must include the following information:
- An analysis of funding for special education services in other states compared to the funding model used in Colorado, with a focus on the proportionate share between federal, state, and local funding and how other states fund different categories of disabilities to target the needs of children with disabilities;
- An analysis of the actual costs to provide special education services to children with disabilities in Colorado;
- An analysis of the effectiveness of the current model for funding special education services, including whether the current funding model adequately supports special education services;
- An examination of the high-cost special education trust fund (fund) that includes how the fund is operated, who receives funding from the fund, and how the fund impacts those who receive funds;
- An analysis of the current disability categories for children with disabilities and whether the disability categories are sufficient for meeting the needs of children with disabilities; and
- Recommended changes, if any, to the special education services funding model.
The act appropriates $80 million from the state education fund to the department of education for special education programs for children with disabilities.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)