Special ed bill passes Senate

Special ed bill passes Senate by Jaimi Reimer School districts may be seeing a change in the money they receive for special education under a bill passed March 2.

The Senate passed, 32-3, HB 1178. The bill would change the state aid for special education funding formula and create five special needs categories.

Level one and two disabilities, such as learning and speech impairments and mental retardation, will be funded similar to the current formula. The average daily membership

(ADM) of the school will be used to determine the number of special education students expected to attend the school.

Funding for students with level three, four or five disabilities will go directly to the school the individual student is attending, according to the amended bill. These levels include deafness, blindness, autism and other more severe disabilities.

�Some districts lose some money, some districts gain some money (with the new formula).

This is more accurate than what we have today,�said Sen. Michael Rounds, R-Pierre.

�There have been no absolute guidelines for districts to follow ? we need to rectify this and establish rules,� said Sen. Keith Paisley, R-Sioux Falls.

�(The state) needs a system that assures all special education children get an education and are not in competition with regular education. This bill is certainly a step in the right direction,� said Gene Enck, lobbyist for the Associated of School Boards of South Dakota.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mitch Richter, R-Sioux Falls, and Sen. Barbara Everist, R-Sioux Falls.

HB 1178 now moves to the governor for approval.

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