***(UK) Stockton: $3.1M (US) School SPED overspend; $3.3M (US) overspend last year

Jan 24, 2019, Teesside Live: Schools funding crisis means there's a 'race against time' to fix £1.4m black hole Stockton Council is seeking government permission to plug a major funding gap Stockton schools will be forced to wait longer to hear whether they can transfer £1.4m to plug a gap in funding for special needs pupils. Education leaders at the Stockton Schools Forum sent off a missive to the government in November asking whether they could transfer money to try and ease a £2.4m [$3.1M US dollars] hole looming in April. But they've received no reply from the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, who must give them the green light to shift the money from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) - the ring-fenced pot of money given to authority schools by the government - to the "high needs block". This means there'll be a race against the clock to finish setting budgets for schools. The Stockton schools budget had a £2.5m overspend on SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabled) pupils in 2017/18 - something which was put down to an increase in the population of young people, exclusion levels and government funding "not keeping pace" with demand. The latest report from the school forum shows a £2.4m overspend forecast by March 31 this year. The situation is by no means unique to Stockton with other neighbouring school forums having to file similar requests to meet the "high needs" shortfall. … Before Christmas, Cllr Ann McCoy, Stockton Council cabinet member for children and young services, said government funding was "not enough". Amid the delay, Cllr McCoy said: "We know what the timescales are and DfE have kept in contact about their process”. A DfE spokeswoman said: "After we announced in December 2018 an additional £250m in funding for high needs over this and next year - with Stockton receiving an extra £907,000 - the Secretary of State allowed local authorities time to withdraw or amend requests to transfer funding from schools to high needs block.