Budget Cuts Threaten Special Education Services, Survey Shows

Recent budget cuts at the federal, state, and local levels are affecting the delivery of special education services for students with disabilities, according to a new survey conducted by the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services (NCPSSERS), of which AACTE is a member.

The survey of more than 1,000 special education professionals from all 50 states, which was featured in Education Week, shows that the impact of federal, state, and local budget cuts on special education is most evident in an increase in caseload, class size, and reduced professional development opportunities. 

According to the NCPSSERS survey:

  • 94% of respondents say their school district has been impacted by budget cuts over the last year.
  • 83% of respondents say budget cuts have already affected the delivery of special education services.
  • 82% of respondents say there are ‘too few personnel to meet the needs of students with disabilities” in their school district.
  • 40% of respondents say that budget cuts have led to unfilled vacancies of school personnel, and nearly one third report layoffs of specialized instructional support personnel and teachers.

In the face of sequestration and reduced state education budgets across the country, AACTE members are working to address personnel shortages. For example, Virginia Commonwealth University was recently awarded a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to address a critical shortage of high-quality educators for infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children with disabilities from high-need communities.

For more information about NCPSSERS, visit www.specialedshortages.org.

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Sarah Pinsky

Manager for State and Federal Policy, AACTE