Special education funding – formulas within formulas within formulas
Funding for special education is provided based on a number of different formulas. It is one of the few areas of funding in Ontario education that is “enveloped.” It cannot be used for anything other than special education. It is intended to cover the cost of teachers, supplies, equipment, and additional staff.
Special education funding is divided into six categories.
- A per pupil amount for every student in the board referred to as SEPPA (special education per pupil amount). This funding is based on an assumption that a certain proportion of students will require some special education support. Boards receive:
- $1,015.60 per JK to Grade 3 student
- $780.12 per Grade 4 to 8 student
- $515.04 per Grade 9 to 12 student
- An amount intended to respond to the variation among boards, called the Differentiated Special Education Needs Amount. This funding is allocated to school boards through a complex series of formulas and “statistical prediction models” based on a board’s particular student population. The demographic factors in the grant are still based on the 2006 census. Boards receive the funding based on things such as:
- Median income and parental education
- Percent of families below the low-income cut-off and percent unemployed
- Percent of Indigenous families and percent who are recent immigrants
- Percent of families who moved in the previous year
- Number of students reported on EQAO tests as receiving special education services
- Achievement on EQAO assessments by students with special education needs
- Credit accumulation and participation in locally developed and alternative non-credit courses by students with special education needs
- Special equipment amount (SEA)
- Each board receives $10,000 plus $36.101 per student to purchase equipment, including computers, software, robotics and furniture for use by students with special education needs. There is also a claims-based process by which boards can apply for funding to cover costs over $800 for individual students’ “non-computer” equipment including “sensory support, hearing support, vision support, personal care support, and physical assists support equipment.”
- Funding for students with extremely high needs: the Special incidence portion (SIP)
- Boards may also apply for funding to support students who require more than two full-time staff “to address the health and safety needs of both the students who have extraordinarily high needs related to their disabilities and/or exceptionalities and others at their school.” The maximum (SIP) funding per claim is $27,679.
- Funding for students who cannot attend school: the Care, Treatment, Custody and Correctional Amount
- This funding is allocated to boards on a board by board basis according to specific Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs). It is intended to cover the costs of educating students who cannot attend school because they have very high physical or mental health needs, or they are in conflict with the law.
- Funding to support students with autism spectrum disorder, called the Behaviour Expertise Amount
- This funding is for staff and training, and has increased this year to $30.5 million (up from $15.2 million). It is intended to cover some of the costs of experts in Applied Behaviour Analysis, so that they can “support principals, teachers, educators and other school staff by providing and coordinating ABA coaching, training and resources; facilitating school board sand to provide training for school staff.”