A five-year review of budget initiatives to improve special education services for MCPS students shows that funding for special education has increased significantly during the period from FY 2001-03.
During fiscal years 1999 and 2000, a total of $720,000 in initiatives was approved to support special education students. During the period from FY 2001-03, the Board of Education approved a total of $5.5 million in initiatives to improve services for special education students.
During FY 2002, the Board approved $1.9 million to reduce class size in programs for students with learning disabilities to FY 1995 levels. The Board also approved more than $2.3 million in other special education program initiatives, including 6 psychologist positions, 3 positions for support to six elementary schools with the special education cluster model, 6 positions for elementary school resource room teachers and 57.3 special education instructional assistant positions. This total of almost $4.3 million is the largest increase ever approved in MCPS for improvements in special education programs.
In FY 2003, with additional state aid, the Board has approved 17 positions for reading and writing teachers in high schools and 2 additional psychologist positions at a cost of $854,000. This is in addition to the 1 psychologist position added in February by the Board when it approved the FY 2003 Operating Budget request.
These FY 2003 improvements begin the implementation of the improvement plan developed this year by the Special Education Staffing Committee.