All Data Points for States Using Categorical Funding Mechanism

State Funding for Students with Disabilities

All Data Points for States Using Categorical Funding Mechanism

June 2015

This database indicates cateogrical funded states' allocation and student count method for K-12 students with disabilities.

Categorical Funding: Funding is allocated outside of the state’s primary funding formula through separate line items (12 states).

State Allocation: Categorical funding amounts may vary each year based on the state budget—we provide the most up-to-date information available.

Method of Determining Student Count: States use either:

The most common systems used for special education student counts are a student's average daily attendance (ADA), average daily membership (ADM) or enrollment of students. Six states make use of a system that does not rely on student counts but assumes that all districts have the same percentage enrollment of special education students. This system is known as a census-based system.

Data compiled by Maria Millard & Stephanie Aragon: or 303.299.3620, or 303.299.3614

Funding Mechanism State Allocation Student Count
Arkansas Categorical Arkansas only provides funding for students with disabilities with high-costs. Student count on October 1
California Categorical Funding depends on state appropriations. In FY 2014-2015, the department allocated $2,811,461,000 for students with disabilities. Census-based
Colorado Categorical In FY 2014-2015, $160.9 million was allocated for special education programs. Districts receive $1,250 for each student with a disability. An additional $6,000 for children with certain disabilities may be provided; however, that funding is dependent on state appropriations and may be prorated. $500,000 is available for children not under the care of their parents. Student count on December 1
Hawaii Categorical Funding depends on state appropriations. For FY 2014-2015, $325.5 million was allocated for students with disabilities (approximately 23.2% of the education budget).
*Note: Hawaii is a single school district.
Based on individual student need, not enrollment.
Illinois Categorical Illinois distributes special education funding via separate categorical programs. In FY 2015, $1.5 billion was provided for these programs. Chicago District 299 receives special education funding through a block grant based on a static percentage and applied against each categorical program.
Based on the IDEA child count of all students in the state
Massachusetts Formula-funded: dollar allocation In FY2015, the state provided districts with $23,332 for each assumed, in-district, special-needs student and $26,461 for each assumed, out-of-district, special-needs student, calculated at the full-time equivalent, rather than the individual, student level. The state also provides a high-cost reimbursement. For each student, the state's share equals 75% of the prior year's approved instructional costs in excess of 4 times the full amount of the prior year's state average per pupil foundation budget. For students who do not live with a parent or guardian, the state reimburses 100%. Reimbursements are subject to appropriation.  Census-based
Minnesota Categorical $1.12 billion allocated for students with disabilities in FY 2014-2015. The state is transitioning to a new funding method for FY 2016 (still a categorical program) that distributes funding through dollar allocation for three categories of disabilities. Adjusted Average Daily Membership count. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2016, the state will transition to a more census-based method that accounts for overall district average daily membership served, poverty concentration, district size, and the average costs of educating students with different primary disabilities.
Montana Categorical Funding depends on state appropriations. The total special education allocation must be distributed according to the following formula:
52.5% through instructional block grants
17.5% through related services block grants
25% to reimbursement of local districts
5% to special education cooperatives and joint boards for administration and travel
The "Average Number Belonging" calculation of the number of students enrolled
Nevada Categorical Funding for 3,049 special education units was $41,608 in FY 2014 and $42,745 in FY 2015 for a total of $126.9 million and $130.3 million respectively. Based on "special education program unit"-- or teaching positions
North Carolina Categorical Funding depends on state allocations. In FY 2014-2015, $784,172,856 (or $3,926.97 per funded child count) was allocated for students with disabilities. The lesser of the student count on April 1 or 12.5% of the allotted Average Daily Membership
Pennsylvania Categorical The categorical funds are distributed through a weighted student count based on categories of student costs:
Category 1: 1.51
Category 2: 3.77
Category 3: 7.46
Two year prior student count of students in each cost category
West Virginia Categorical Funding depends on state appropriations. The total FY 2016 allocation was $7,271,757.   Student count on December 1

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