June 21, 2019, Greenfield (MA) Recorder: Swift River struggles with state’s special ed funding https://www.recorder.com/Wendell-New-Salem-also-shortchanged-by-state-when-it-comes-to-SPED-funding-26467622 Special education costs are rising. It’s an oft-cited fact given as a partial explanation for increasing school budgets in Franklin County. But the state’s 26-year-old formula for funding public schools, Chapter 70, isn’t keeping up with the increased costs. Couple that with the state mandate that school districts fully fund special education, and it’s easy to see why towns and their school districts are chipping away at other budget line items to fund special education…. Swift River School is a two-town regional elementary school shared with New Salem. In the last five years, Tanner said, the school’s budget has increased 31 percent, but the appropriations to the towns have risen by 41 percent — at the same time, Chapter 70 funding has only increased 7 percent. According to Tanner, special education costs have gone up by 55 percent…. Over the last two years, Swift River saw overall budget increases of 4 percent, then 7 percent — in the same years, special education funding jumped from 18 percent to 23 percent, then 23 percent to 24 percent. … At any rate, something should be done to fix the special state’s education funding system, Tanner said. “We know there are other school systems who have been hit even harder by this trend, but we also know that they are an outlier is some ways,” said Tanner, specifically mentioning neighboring Orange….
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