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NH: School enrollment "steadily declined"; SPED remains at 30,000

April 12, 2022, Yahoo News: House leader proposes special education aid boost

Kevin Landrigan, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester

CONCORD — The House Education Committee chairman said he will propose boosting state aid to help pay for more costly special education services that local property taxes are unable to cover.

State Rep. Rick Ladd, R-Haverhill, said his amendment would add almost $15 million a year in state education aid to a Senate-passed bill (SB 420) that already will deliver nearly $14 million more a year to the 110 property- and income-poorest communities in the state.

Ladd said while school enrollment has steadily declined in New Hampshire, the number of students with individualized education plans for special education has remained at roughly 30,000 over the past decade….

Ladd's plan would give school districts about $500 more for each student with the costliest conditions, which include autism, traumatic brain injury, orthopedic or physical impairment and visual impairment.

"Some special education conditions take a lot more cost and support than others; some may only amount to a half an hour a week," Ladd told his committee.

New Hampshire's current adequate education formula creates a hybrid of grants to assist districts with special needs costs.

Each school district gets an education aid increase of $2,037 for each student with an individualized education plan (IEP).

A second phase of special education support from the state kicks in for high-cost cases if they exceed more than three-and-a-half times the average cost. The state pays 80% of costs above that three-and-a-half times level.

Ladd said his amendment would give more relief to school budgets….

All but one state senator last month endorsed the plan of Sen. Erin Hennessey, R-Littleton, to create a new state aid grant program of "extraordinary needs."…

"Every school district is going to get an additional grant from the state whether they need it or not," Luneau said of the special education grant increase.

"The Senate doesn't put a lot of money into it, but it is directing it to where it is needed the most."…


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