Special Education Circuit Breaker

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

The Special Education Circuit Breaker program reimburses local school districts for a portion of their costs for educating severely high-needs special education students. The state reimburses a portion of district costs above a certain threshold and the precise reimbursement formula changes year-to-year depending on the total amount allocated in a given year and on the level of claims statewide.

The Circuit Breaker program was started in FY 2004. The threshold for eligibility is reached when districts spend four times the state average foundation budget on a student as calculated under the Chapter 70 education funding formula. The circuit breaker program aims to pay 75 percent of the costs above that threshold, but for several years during the recent economic downturn, reimbursement rates were below the 75 percent level. Between FY 2011 and FY 2015 the reimbursement rate averaged 73 percent.

Included in this funding is an earmark for a special program run with the Dept. of Developmental Services (DDS). The intent of this program is to allow students to return home from a residential placement or prevent students from moving into residential placements. Funded at $6.5 million in FY 2017, this program supports children receiving special education who are also eligible for services from DDS, who live at home, and are between the ages of 6 and 17 at the time of enrollment.

Updated August 2016

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