Special Education

Learn more about the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future at marylandeducators.org/Blueprint.

Equity and Student Success are at the heart of the Blueprint

In its final report, the Kirwan Commission—the group of policymakers who developed the Blueprint—says that its “final policy and resource recommendations were driven by the belief that all students, regardless of family income, race, ethnicity, language spoken, disabilities, or other needs, must have the resources they need for success,” clearly recognizing that special education must have dedicated Blueprint funds to meet student and educator needs.

For special educators, this means a huge investment in the staffing, resources, technology, and support that they need to do their jobs and provide students of all backgrounds with a free appropriate public education. Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975 with a promise to fund 40% of the additional cost to serve students with disabilities. It has never come close to that promise—only once has it been funded more than 18%.

In the meantime, Maryland educators, like those in other states, have had to meet the requirements of the law, face monumental workloads, and beg state and local systems for relief and resources. Every year, MSEA leaders and members lobby members of the General Assembly and Congress to help in order to ensure that there is adequate staff support and time to work with students and meet necessary requirements. Now, with the passage of the Blueprint, educators will see a nearly 50% increase in state special education funding through fiscal year (FY) 2030*. Per pupil special education grants come as a percentage of foundation per pupil funding and reach a maximum of 153% in FY 2030—meaning that school systems will receive 153% of the foundation amount of per pupil funding for each student receiving special education services in the system. After FY 2030, funding levels out at 143% of the foundation per pupil funding.

The result of this massive increase in funding should be a sea change in the professional lives of special educators and the supports available to students receiving special education services.

To assure that state and local boards of education and special education departments are maximizing resources and funds and serving students as intended, the Blueprint includes a rigorous accountability structure through the Accountability and Implementation Board to ensure that all Blueprint funds are used as intended and not absorbed or redirected to central offices or MSDE.