Special Education Budget Analysis Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Special Education Budget Analysis

Special education directors/leaders must sufficiently understand the budgeting process in order to be able to explain why specific numbers have been entered in a budget. To gain some additional understanding in this area, this paper reviews the relevant literature to examine specific line items to determine the theories, legislations, and/or laws that require special educational directors/leaders to spend a certain amount of money. A discussion concerning the discussing the research-based reasoning behind selected line items of a school district budget is followed by an evaluation of those line items that are not aligned with research-based reasoning. Finally, a discussion concerning what can be done to align the items with research and legislation that meets the federal mandates for fiscal management is followed by a summary of the research and important findings concerning the special education budget process in the conclusion.

Review and Analysis

A summary of legislation, laws, and research that covers the budgeting process

A seemingly bewildering array of federal and state laws have been enacted in recent years in an effort to ensure that special educational students are provided with the same educational opportunities as their nondisabled counterparts (DeNisco, 2015). The first such substantive initiative was the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 which was subsequently amended and expanded into the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA (Beatty, 2013). In sum, "The central tenet of the IDEA mandates a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities" (Beatty, 2013, p. 530). Pursuant to the IDEA, school districts have a number of responsibilities with respect to the rights of special education learners as well as their parents, including most especially the provision of an individualized education program (or IEP) and opportunities for ensuring optimal classroom placement (Beatty, 2013).

Likewise, the U.S. Department of Education administers two federal laws, Title II of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (formerly known as the Higher Education Act of 1965) as well as Part B of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 2006 (Steinbecher & McKeown, 2013). The programs implemented by the U.S. Department of Education are intended to ensure that local and state education agencies provide transparent, accurate, valid, and reliable information concerning their special educational resources, including the number of highly qualified teachers that are employed for budget planning purposes (Steinbecher & McKeown, 2013). Likewise, both No Child Left Behind and IDEA regulations mandate full certification in special education by all special education teachers (Steinbecher & McKeown, 2013).

A resource cost model approach can be used to estimate the monetary costs of a special educational program for budgeting purposes based on its constituent components, including district-level expenses for the following:

Program coordinators or secretaries,

Curriculum development,

Curricular coaches, and,

Professional development planning and evaluation (Augustine & McCombs, 2013, p. 38).

At the school-level, expenses can include the following:

Site managers,


Enrichment providers,

Security guards,

Administrative staff,


Classroom materials,

Field trips,

Student bus transportation, and,

Food (Augustine & McCombs, 2013, p. 38).

Likewise, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorizes federal funds pursuant to Part B, Section 611, to support the provision of special education instructional and associated services (Davis, 2016). Such Title VI-allocations are known as "pass through" funds that are provided directly to local education agencies (Davis, 2016). In general, if an initiative includes one or more of the following strategies, schools can include Title VI-B funds as part of the funding sources:


Sources Used in Document:


Allowable and unallowable expenses. (2016). sNew York Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/consolidatedappupdate/allowunallowable / expensesiii.html.

Augustine, C. H. & McCombs, J. S. (2013). Getting to work on summer learning: Recommended practices for success. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.

Beatty, M. L. (2013, Spring). Not a bad idea: The increasing need to clarify free appropriate public education provisions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Suffolk University Law Review, 46(2), 529-533.

Davis, B. (2016). Special Education Programs, Title VI-B Funds. Arkansas Department of Education. Retrieved from http://arkedu.state.ar.us/commemos/static/fy0405/2180.html.

Cite This Essay:

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