ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s legislative auditor says fast-rising special education costs are hampering the ability of school districts to reach other education goals, such as reducing class sizes.
An audit published Wednesday urges lawmakers to find ways to ease the special education burden on school districts, whether it’s supplying more state money or revising regulations the state sets beyond federal requirements.
The report says that the median school district now devotes 33 percent of its basic education budget to special education. That’s a 40 percent jump between 2000 and 2011 when adjusted for inflation.
Lawmakers are expected to debate the so-called cross-subsidy this year. The report suggests they also look at state regulations.
Several Minnesota laws exceed federal requirements, including the standards used to place children in those classes and workloads on teachers.