SANTA FE — Legislative auditors are recommending that New Mexico revamp special education financing because the current system creates incentives for schools to gain more funding by identifying students for greater services.
About $500 million is spent annually on special education, but a report issued Wednesday by Legislative Finance Committee staff said schools are penalized if they find less costly ways of helping students.
The state provides aid based on a school’s determination of the services required for students with disabilities, with more money for those with greater needs.
The report recommends basing special education aid on a school’s total enrollment.
Auditors said that if funding were based on a national average of special education students, about 15 school districts would lose money, including $8million for Albuquerque, and aid would increase for 26 districts.