Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) is sponsoring a bill (S.9002) which would allow school districts to establish an extraordinary needs reserve fund to cover expenses for providing special education services.
The costs associated with educating a high-needs student can be four times the cost of educating a traditional student, putting significant financial stress on a school district. If a special education student enrolls in the middle of a school year, the unanticipated expenses can put immediate strain on school budgets, especially for small school districts. This legislation would allow districts to establish a reserve fund to help meet these expenses.
"School districts need to have the flexibility to establish a reserve fund so they are better prepared to provide the services special education students deserve, without putting added strain on already tight school budgets," Senator Gallivan said. "The bill allows districts to establish a cushion to meet these expenses and ensure adequate resources are available for all students."
Currently, school districts are limited in how much money they can set aside into an un-appropriated fund balance, which is where they would typically draw from for increased special education expenses or other unanticipated increases in expenses.
The legislation would amend state education law to authorize districts to establish a reserve fund for payment of unanticipated costs related to the instruction of high-need students.