Funding Special Education by Total District Enrollment: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Policy Considerations
This policy brief aims to help policymakers, educators, and researchers better understand census funding, a special education finance model used by several states and the federal government. Under this model, aid levels are based primarily on total district enrollment and a fixed amount per student. Census funding is viewed as a cost-containment approach, but it has raised concerns about funding equity. The brief examines the key advantages and disadvantages of the model and discusses options for easing funding equity concerns. It also describes other ways in which states and districts may be able to contain special education costs while maintaining quality programs.