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School Board: Addressing Special Education Cross-Subsidy is a 'Priority'


The Columbia Heights Public School Board has determined the Special Education Cross-Subsidy to be one of the District’s top priorities for 2017. The School Board is urging all state Representatives and Senators to pass legislation in the current session to fully fund Special Education that meets the letter of the law.

By definition, the Special Education Cross-Subsidy measures the difference between Special Education expenditures and corresponding revenues. Put more simply, it is money from this District’s General Fund Budget that is needed to cover the underfunded mandate for Special Education.

Both the Federal and State governments mandate Special Education; however, during the past 42 years the Federal Government has never funded its mandate by more than 17 percent, with this District receiving no more than 15 percent. The State has not been responsible for funding the gap between the minimal federal funding and this school District’s expenditures.

How much of a financial impact does the Cross-Subsidy have on Columbia Heights Public Schools?

The most current Cross-Subsidy is $4,812,505, or approximately 10 percent of the General Fund Budget. This is equivalent to 74 full-time equivalent positions (staff) or approximately the cost to build the 2014 Valley View Elementary School educational wing.

How is this affecting Columbia Heights Public School students and staff?

Funds that are diverted from the District's General Fund Budget to pay for the Special Education Cross-Subsidy could, and should, be invested in general classrooms throughout the District. These funds could, and should, continue to be used to maintain programs and positions. The funds could, and should, be further invested in creating worlds of opportunity for every learner in Columbia Heights Public Schools.

To learn more about this issue, view the Frequently Asked Questions handout. All staff are requested to read the FAQs. For follow-up questions, contact Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren or Interim Director of Student Services Dr. Laura McLuen.