July 12th 2017 Boston – State Representative David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton) testified today before the Joint Committee on Education regarding a piece of legislation that he filed earlier this year. The bill, H.299, An Act Relative to Special Education Funding, proposes changes to the Massachusetts General Laws in order to reimburse school districts at a larger rate for costs associated with special education students.
During his testimony, Representative Muradian was accompanied by Assistant Minority Leader Bradford R. Hill (R-Ipswich) and Representative James M. Kelcourse (R-Amesbury). The gentlemen voiced their support for an increase in special education funding.
Massachusetts General Law allows school districts to be eligible for additional funding for high-cost special education students. Additional funding can be reimbursed when the education costs of a special education student exceeds a designated threshold that is well above the regular education cost per student. Currently, the threshold for eligibility is tied to 4 times the state average foundation budget per pupil with the state paying 75% of the costs above that threshold.
“School districts should not have to suffer financially for helping special education students to the best of their ability,” said Representative Muradian. “As a legislator it is important for me to be the voice of not only my district, but also Massachusetts as a whole. Our schools need more financial support when it comes to the funding of our special education students and the passage of this bill would do just that.”
If this bill were to pass, the proposed language would change the threshold for eligibility from 4 times the state average foundation budget per pupil to 3 times the state average foundation budget per pupil. This would nearly double the reimbursement rate that a school district is subject to receive.
Following yesterday’s testimony by Representative Muradian, the bill will be reported out of the Committee with either a “favorable, ought to pass” recommendation or an “unfavorable, ought not to pass” recommendation. The Representative is hopeful for a “favorable, ought to pass” recommendation.