Lt. Gov. Calley: Special education report outlines need for additional resources for Michigan students

Nov. 22, 2017

LANSING, Mich. –Michigan’s special education students need more resources to reach their full potential, according to a new report presented to Lt. Gov. Calley today.

Calley charged a subcommittee of members on his Special Education Reform Task Force to review funding models in other states and to identify priority investment areas to ensure Michigan has a system that meets each child’s educational needs. The Special Education Funding Subcommittee presented its findings to Calley this week.

“Students with developmental disabilities and learning disabilities should have access to the specialized services they need to learn,” Calley said. “While we have a long way to go to give students with special needs the resources they deserve, I’m encouraged that we now have a roadmap to help us get there.”

The report identifies a $700 million gap between the cost of current services and existing special education funding streams. The shortfall is currently being covered by individual schools’ general operating budgets.

The subcommittee issued seven priority investment and funding recommendations: 

  • Expand Early On in Michigan services
  • Provide financial incentives for Pre-K and K-12 to implement best practices in Special Education services
  • Increase support for community-based supported employment transition services for students starting at age 16
  • Increasing support for professional development for teachers to prepare them to meet the needs of all learners 
  • Reduce inequities based on ZIP code 
  • Providing schools with both the foundation allowance and reimbursement for special education expenses
  • Fund regional family support service resource centers 

Calley and the subcommittee will now work with legislators and the Michigan Department of Education on ways to implement these needs.

“Despite the great work going on in every corner of the state, Michigan has a long way to go in improving outcomes for students. But there are steps we can take right now that can change the lives for many of our students,” said Scott Koenigsknecht, Ingham ISD Superintendent and subcommittee chair.

The Special Education Reform Task Force, chaired by Calley, issued its overall recommendations in 2016, creating a strategic roadmap of recommendations to improve special education outcomes in Michigan. The task force now focuses on implementation of recommendations.

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Related Documents
Special Education Finance Report PDF icon