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May 29 2008 STATE FUNDING FOR EXTRAORDINARY COST
Issue Summary: Produced by Garden State Coalition of Schools and The New Jersey Coalition for Special Education Funding Reform (Released at the GSCS Annual Meeting, May 29, 2008.)

Issue Summary

 

STATE FUNDING FOR EXTRAORDINARY COST

 

 

Produced by Garden State Coalition of Schools and

The New Jersey Coalition for Special Education Funding Reform

 

 

 

The newly enacted school funding law has modified every aspect of special education funding, including funding for ‘extraordinary costs.’

 

In the past, local school districts could apply to the NJDOE for reimbursement for any special education placement with tuition costs in excess of $40,000. Amounts over the $40,000 threshold were eligible for state funding.

 

The new law sets different two different thresholds for out-of-district placements, based on whether the program serving the child with a disability is publicly or privately operated. It also defines which costs can be counted toward those thresholds. For public out-of-district programs, the new law retains a $40,000 threshold, but limits the allowable costs only to those associated with direct instruction and support.  For private out-of-district programs, the new law raises the threshold to $55,000, but continues to allow the full tuition to be counted.

 

According to the non partisan Office of Legislative services,

 

“increased threshold for students enrolled in private schools for students with disabilities will deem a significant share of students ineligible for any cost reimbursement. Of the more than 13,000 applications for extraordinary aid reimbursement, nearly 42% were for students in private schools with tuitions below the new $55,000 threshold. As a result, the number of students who would quality for reimbursement declines to approximately 7,800 under SRFA.”

 

A review of published tuition costs of County Special Services Programs reveals that most would not meet the new threshold for public out-of-district programs, which limits reimbursable costs to only those direct instruction and support costs in excess of $40,000.

 

SRFA has diminished, not increased the state’s commitment to districts serving students with extraordinary needs.


 

Changes in Extraordinary Special Education Aid

 

                                                                        CEIFA                                    SRFA

Reimbursement Rate                                                                        

            In-district

public or private                      100%                           90%

           

Out-of-District

public or private                      100%                           75%

 

Costs Allowed to be Considered

In-district

public                                      full tuition                    instruction & support

private                                     full tuition                    full tuition

 

            Out-of district

public                                      full tuition                    instruction & support

            private                                     full tuition                    full tuition

 

 

Cost Threshold

            In-district-

public or private                      40,000                         40,000 *

 

            Out-of-District

public                                      40,000                         40,000 *

private                                     40,000                         55,000

(*) not the full tuition amount, see above

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828