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Administrative law judge sides with Flint schools in special education funding dispute

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint Community Schools has scored a victoryin a fight to get more money for special education.

A state Education Department official is recommending changes to a funding formula that could mean tens of thousands of dollars in additional special educationfunding for the school district.  

District officials asked for a reviewof the current funding formula that the Genesee Intermediate School District uses to distribute funding for special education in the county. In the 2019-2020 school year, GISD distributed more than $3 million in special education funding.

Flint officials complain the formula is based on the number of full time students and not on the number of special needs students in each district.  

An administrative law judge agreed, saying in his written decision the funding formula “does not meet the individual needs of each student with a disability.”  

He’s recommending a major change. The change would mean a substantial increase in special education funding for Flint Community Schools.  Other Genesee County school districts would see their share of the money drop.

It will be up to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Rice to decide how the money should be divided up.

The superintendent’s decision is binding, but may be appealed to the circuit court.  

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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