I would like to take a moment to discuss a bill I have introduced this session that would help us better manage special education funding in our state.
My bill, House File 998, builds on recommendations put forward by a 2013 report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) regarding how funding is managed for special education programs around the state.
According to the OLA report, Minnesota has over 70 statutes and over 100 regulations mandated on special ed, above the federal requirements. These additional special ed requirements have never been assessed for their effectiveness and cost.
I believe the best course of action is for our state to conduct a cost-benefit analyses to assess how effective these investments are for our students and where current funding could be used more effectively as recommended by the OLA report.
Our students in special education deserve to have the best education possible, and as with all students, they deserve to have every dollar that is allocated towards their education used in prudent ways that result in maximum benefits.
The study will also assess if more flexibility for school districts will help them better educate their students in special education. Schools should have the ability to adapt their programs to their students’ specific needs, not just state requirements.
My bill will require the Minnesota Department of Education to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine how to best invest special education funds, and what areas would benefit our children most. This bill is all about efficiency and studying how to use state dollars to help schools around Minnesota provide an amazing education for kids in special education. I look forward to the results of this study and how it will help us focus resources for our students.
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I look forward to hearing from you.