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Special Education Excess Cost Cooperative (INFOGRAPHIC)

Feb 7, 2020 - less than 1 minute

This infographic from the School and State Finance Project summarizes the Special Education Excess Cost Cooperative (the Co-op), a solution to a special education funding and budget planning challenge that municipalities and local school districts are facing annually across Connecticut.

While students with extraordinary learning needs represent less than one percent of Connecticut’s public school population, supporting these students with the special education services they need and deserve frequently results in high and volatile costs for towns and school districts. These services are often referred to as “excess cost” services because the cost of providing them to a student is at least four and a half times the district’s net current expenditures per student, which qualifies the district for partial financial reimbursement through the State’s Excess Cost grant.

These higher-need special education costs make budget planning difficult and unpredictable as districts do not know what their special education excess costs will be in advance. As a result, municipalities and school districts face an annual challenge as they plan for a balanced budget that benefits all students and ensures adequate funding for students with disabilities — no matter what their needs are.

The Co-op is designed to address this challenge by creating a special education finance system where the state and local governments share in special education excess costs while keep decisions and delivery of special education services local.

To learn more about the Co-op, visit


School and State Finance Project. (2020). Special Education Excess Cost Cooperative [Infographic]. New Haven, CT: Author. Retrieved from


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