Increasing the dialogue among stakeholders in New Jersey’s special education system

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bipartisan budget bill, following a 4-day government shut down that brought public services to a standstill.

The $34.7 billion spending plan adds $150 million for schools and shifts $31 million from ‘overfunded’ districts to those that should get more money under the school funding formula. The increase includes $100 million in K-12 school funding, $25 million to expand pre-kindergarten and $25 million for extraordinary special education, In total, New Jersey will spend $13 billion this year on education funding, including $9 billion in direct support.

The additional $25 million for special education is earmarked for so called “Extraordinary Aid”, a pot of more than $170M intended to provide reimbursement to school districts serving special education students with intensive needs. The funds are designed to reimburse sending school districts for a portion of special education costs that exceed certain set thresholds: $40,000 for public in-district programs, and $55,000 for those in private special education placements. Under the new budget, that portion would rise from 56 percent of the extra costs to 64 percent.

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