State and federal courts and lawmakers mandate that the children of California are entitled to a “free and appropriate education.” But the mandating authorities do not fully fund the mandated services.
In 2010-2011, the Kern County Grand Jury studied all of the school districts in Kern County to determine costs above and beyond the funds that come to them from the state and federal governments for special education. This is what their research shows:
El Tejon Unified School District has 149 special education students.
State and federal sources disburse $959,272 for special education services to the district, but it costs ETUSD almost twice that amount, $1,817,235, to serve the students.
That is $857,963, close to a million dollars, that is pulled from the general fund and not available for educating the other 500 students in the district.
The amount spent on legal fees related to special education was $42,821 in 2009- 2010, roughly 21.5 percent of the district legal bill, on special education legal costs. The cost for transporting special ed children to special classes is $35,000.
This is part of the June 24, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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