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Pasadena: General enrollment 'going down decade after decade'; SPED up "year over year"

July 26, 2018, Pasadena News Now: Pasadena Unified Contends with Ballooning Special Education Costs About 25% of the District’s budget funds programs for just 16% of its students While the Pasadena Unified School District continues working to make cuts to reign in multi-million-dollar budget shortfalls projected over the next few years, it’s increasingly struggling to fund special education, as both the costs, and the share of the costs that the District is responsible to pay, rise year-over-year. The PUSD Board of Education will consider during Thursday’s meeting whether to approve the Special Education Local Plan Area’s proposed plan as it stands, as well as the special education budget for the 2018-2019 school year. District staff recommends they do. … Anticipated spending for special ed in the 2017-2018 year is expected to top $57.5 million, he wrote in an op-ed last month. That amounts to nearly 25 percent of the District’s entire $234-million budget, though special ed students make up about 16 percent of the student body…. And the shortfall is expected to be even greater for the 2018-2019 school year, with about $32.5 million of District funds going to special education…. Pasadena is home to many children’s institutions that take care of kids with special needs, and enroll them into the PUSD, Phelps said. But at the same time, “Our general enrollment has been going down for decades.”… “The federal government has never funded special education at a level that is even half of its promise to fund up to 40-percent of special education costs, forcing states and local educational agencies to cover remaining costs,” Phelps wrote in the op-ed. “While the population of students requiring special education and services continues to grow, federal funding has not grown and has even decreased at times.” Meanwhile, “The total cost per pupil for special education has risen in the last three years, from $15,000 to over $21,000,” Phelps added. …


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