June 15, 2017, Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle: Montana lawmakers look into schools’ special education funds http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/montana-lawmakers-look-into-schools-special-education-funds/article_78b48c66-1c34-50e3-89bb-e6208951409d.html Some parents of children with disabilities have complained for years that Montana public schools aren’t doing enough to educate their kids. ... The Legislature has asked the committee to investigate several topics, including national best practices for serving special needs students, alternative funding ideas, and ways to prevent “tendencies to over-identify” too many students as needing special education services “in order to receive more funding.” The number of children identified by schools as needing special education services is rising faster than the number of students overall, according to the state Office of Public Instruction. Special-ed students increased from 16,032 to 18,056 students in the past five years, or from 11.3 percent to 12.3 percent of all Montana schoolchildren. Students may be in special education because of learning disabilities, developmental delays, autism, blindness, hearing impairment, brain injury or other reasons. While some lawmakers feel too many students get labeled as needing special services, advocates for kids with dyslexia complain their kids don’t receive enough services. Rural schools that band together in co-ops to pay for special education services often feel funding is inadequate.