Special Education

  • The Colorado’s school finance system is designed to provide extra funding for students with certain characteristics that require additional resources to enable their success. However, the system is not funded at a level that meets this goal. For instance, the School Finance Act authorizes up to $6,000 per students with significant special education needs. In reality, actual expenditures are dictated by the budget, not by needs. As a result, the state currently provides only $947 or 15.8% of the target $6,000 for those special ed services, leaving local districts to cover the majority of extra costs for special needs students. (Colorado Department of Education)
  • Colorado provides about 17% of the cost of special education. After federal funding, districts are left covering about 72% of special ed costs. Only two states — Arizona and Oklahoma — provide less. (Lobato opinion, Page 82; State Special Education Finance Systems Report, Page 26)
  • Colorado identifies and serves a smaller percentage of its students with disabilities than almost any other state in the country. (10.2% compared to a national average of 13.3%). (Lobato opinion, Page 61)