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Falmouth, MA: $400K to send SPED kids to out-of-area schools; state help needed

Aug 25, 2023, Falmouth (MA) Enterprise: Falmouth Schools Figuring Out How To Pay For Increased Special Needs Costs
This year, Falmouth schools may have to pay an additional $400,000 to send students with special needs to schools outside the district. This is a 14 percent increase in what the district paid last year as a result of inflation adjustments made by the state. Superintendent Lori S.

Duerr expects the state will help cover some of the costs, and the district and the town are prepared to tap into the Special Education Stabilization Fund if need be.

In Massachusetts, students with severe developmental disabilities are placed in schools that specialize in offering appropriate, therapeutic education. Public school districts then pay the child’s tuition at these specialized out-of-district schools. The 14 percent increase was announced last fall.

“A 14 percent increase is beyond what we can handle in our budget,” Dr. Duerr said during a school committee meeting Tuesday, August 22. “We’re used to no more than 2 percent per year.”

The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents has been asking the state to pay for this increase for the first year, Dr. Duerr said, while school districts pursue reimbursement for out-of-district costs via the state Circuit Breaker program. The state has not yet decided whether to fulfill this request, but will likely make a decision later this month, the superintendent said.

The state House and Senate are proposing to cover a percentage of these out-of-district costs, she said….


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