What Drives the Core of the SEF Formula?
The most important component of the SEF formula is the number of special education students in each school district. The overall number of special education students as a percentage of the total student population varies across school districts.
Click on the map below to view the total special education ADMs in each school district as a percentage of their total ADMs.
The SEF formula counts the number of special education students in each school district—allocating them in one of three cost categories and provides an ADM count based on those weights. Category 1 special education students generally require less than $25,000 in special education programs and services. Students in Category 2 have special education needs that generally cost the district between $25,000 and $50,000 annually. Category 3 students have special education needs that cost the district in excess of $50,000. The category thresholds are increased annually.
School districts are required to report special education students by cost each year, which determines the number of students in each cost category. While the majority of special education students are in Category 1, the number of students in Categories 2 and 3 continues to grow each year.
Click on the map below to view the number of students in each cost category.
Once the number of students in each cost category is determined, a weight is applied. The weights reflect the additional cost associated with each category of students.
- Category 1 weight: 1.51
- Category 2 weight: 3.77
- Category 3 weight: 7.46
The number of students in each category is multiplied by the corresponding weight. The products for each category are added together—this becomes the Weighted Student Count. For example, Pocono Mountain SD in Monroe County in 2016-17 had 1,999 students in Category 1, 143 students in Category 2, and 38 students in Category 3. The formula would compute the following weighted student count: (1,999 x 1.51) + (143 x 3.77) + (38 x 7.46) = 3,840
We’ll spend the next two days talking about further adjustments made to this number to determine each school district’s share of special education funding.