LaTEACH
Join Fellow LaTEACH Members!
Put on your Purple  
The Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) Committee needs to hear your voice!
October 8, 2014
  

 

Have you ever been told that your child's services were being reduced or not available to the degree needed?

 

Do you wonder if the reason some services are not provided is because money is not following the right students?

 

Join LaTEACH members at the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) Task Force next Wednesday, October, 15th 2014 to advocate for appropriate funding levels to schools based on the students served.  The Department of Education will provide a presentation on how schools are funded based on the students with disabilities in those schools.

WHAT:     Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) Task Force Agenda

ISSUES:  Presentation on special education funding.

                Recommend how $3.5 billion will be distributed to schools.

WHEN:    October 15th, 2014   1:30 - 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Thomas Jefferson Room (1-136), Claiborne Building
                 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Need a purple LaTEACH shirt?  Contact your 

LaTEACH Regional Leader or email info@lateach.org.

Learning Opportunity

La. Accountability and Funding Systems:

Impact on Students with Disabilities

 

Join us for a Webinar on October 10, 2014 from 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Space is limited.

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/298586934

 

Join the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council and the Louisiana School Board Association on a webinar connecting the dots in Louisiana's education system.  A case study of the impact of Louisiana's Accountability and Funding systems on a school system's financial health and the impact of and to students with significant disabilities.

 

News of Union Parish receiving a Fiscal Risk Assessment highlights all the ways students with significant disabilities are impacted by our education accountability and funding systems.  The webinar will present a case study of Union parish to demonstrate issues occurring across Louisiana. 

 

Learn the answers to these questions (and more):

  • How poverty and disability impact school performance scores (i.e., why were kids diverted from Union parish schools).
  • What impact do students with significant disabilities have on a school system's financial health in the new age of competitive education reforms?
  • Does Louisiana's education accountability system determine how well students are taught or which students are served in a school?
  • How do funding distributions to traditional and charter school systems contribute to each school system's financial health?
  • How do differences in the types of students served interplay with School Performance Scores and funding inequities between the traditional and charter school systems?
Presenters:
Shawn Fleming, Deputy Director
La. Developmental Disabilities Council

Scott Richard, Executive Director
La. School Board Association
Important Information

Why does the money not necessarily follow the right students?

The Minimum Foundation Program, or MFP, is the formula for how elementary and high schools get their piece of $3,500,000,000 - that is 3.5 Billion dollars.  While the formula is complex, the concept of how the formula creates inequities across schools is simple.  Relative to the amount provided for students without disabilities, each student identified with a disability in a traditional public school system brings in 2.5 times as many dollars as a child without a disability.   The amount of money taken from traditional public schools and provided to charter schools run by BESE and other school choice programs is determined by a different formula - an average amount of money which is the same amount for every student -regardless if the student has a disability or not.


The amount for each student varies from school system to school system. Below is a table for illustration purposes with figures that are fairly close to actual average amounts associated with each student across the state.

 

Approximate MFP funding associated with students by school type
Traditional Public SchoolCharter School (Type II or V outside of New Orleans)
Student without a disability
~ $5,500~ $8,500
Student with a disability~ $13,750~ $8,500


When there is an imbalance of students with varying levels of need across traditional and certain charter schools or choice programs, whichever school has more than their share of students with high-cost needs is not receiving the funding necessary to cover the costs of the services for the students in their school.
 

Additional dollars are needed to provide services such as therapies (speech, occupational, Adaptive physical education, behavioral), services (e.g., nursing), devices (e.g., augmentative communication systems, medical equipment, adaptive equipment, etc.) and higher teacher ratios.  Of course, no two students with disabilities have the same amount of services, but on average, it costs much more to serve students with disabilities.  In today's world of competitive education, it seems necessary to ensure adequate resources are provided to schools based on student need and there should not be financial incentives for schools to avoid serving students with more needs.


 

Which school systems are not getting adequate funds to serve the students in their schools?

Typically, the imbalance works against the traditional public school system because it does not receive its fair share of funding.  But the funding inequity can work both ways.  A charter school wishing to serve a student with a disability may not be receiving an adequate amount of funds needed to provide services.  Parents should not have to wonder whether the school received the right amount of funds to serve their student.

 

What can you do about it?

If you want to make sure the right amount of money follows (or stays with) your child, let members of the MFP Task Force know how you feel! 

 

Isn't there a high-cost pool of funds to cover the needs of kids with the highest-cost needs?

Yes - and no.  While there is a high-cost pool of funds that schools can apply for if a student costs more than $33,000, it is expected that the amount of funds in this pool will be inadequate to cover the cost of serving all the students with high-cost needs.  See the Council letter to Senate Education with an analysis of the distribution of high-cost funds in 2013-2014 and estimate for 2014-2015

 

What have LaTEACH members been advocating for?

LaTEACH members (parents) have participated in previous MFP Task Force meetings and shared recommendations for the funding formula to be consistent across all school systems and to consider the cost of services for students with significant needs.  See the LaDDCNews from March 1, 2013 Proposed Changes will not fix Funding Inequities. 


In addition, two years ago BESE was requested by the Legislature (Senate Concurrent Resolution 124 of 2012) to study and determine the most equitable funding methodology to address the individual needs of children with disabilities within the MFP formula and incorporate such methodology into the formula as soon as possible.


Are you ready for a change to this inequitable way to distribute funds?

What To Do

Participate in the meetings and share your thoughts and concerns regarding how these issues impact your child.  Contact MFP Task Force members, BESE members and Legislators to let them know how you feel about these issues.

 

Ashley McReynolds is representing parents of students with disabilities on the MFP Task Force and welcomes your thoughts, concerns and suggestions on how schools should be funded for serving students with disabilities.  
 

Email Ashley at:  Ashley.McReynolds@lateach.org

Did You Take Action?
action alert
 
Please let us know if you plan to attend any of the meetings above or if you sent any comments to any member of the MFP Task Force, BESE or Legislators to consider by emailing us at info@lateach.org.
Any questions?
If there are any questions about the information in this alert, contact LaTEACH at:
contact pic 
Phone: 1-800-450-8108
Phone: 1-800-894-6558
Website: www.lateach.org

LaTEACH is an initiative of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council.