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Charter School Special Education Funding in Pennsylvania

For many years there have been calls to reform how Pennsylvania funds special education both for school districts and charter schools. While some modest changes were recently legislated, they applied exclusively to new state special education appropriations and only to school district funding. Legislative proposals to change the formula for funding special education in charter schools have, to date, been unsuccessful.

This memo summarizes how special education is funded in school districts and charter schools. In particular, we examine the state special education revenues, district special education expenditures, and charter school special education tuition rates in three school districts: William Penn (Delaware County), Columbia Borough (Lancaster County), and Woodland Hills (Allegheny County).