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Commissioner Cassellius Statement on Legislative Auditor’s Special Education Report

ROSEVILLE, MN - Today the Office of the Legislative Auditor released an evaluation report, Special Education, which examines special education funding and policy within the state of Minnesota. Some of the key findings include a recommendation to reduce school district reliance on general education funding to pay special education expenses. The report further recommends that the Minnesota Department of Education work with school districts to identify feasible cost controls in special education and continue its efforts to further streamline and reduce special education paperwork.

Governor Dayton’s budget increases special education funding by 13 percent, investing $125 million to begin addressing the state’s underfunded special education costs. It also contains substantial reforms designed to stem the rising cost of delivering high-quality special education support in the classroom and meet each student’s individual needs. Governor Dayton’s budget also contains funding to develop an online submission form for required special education paperwork, which will ease bureaucratic burdens on teachers and allow them to spend more time teaching kids with special needs.

After testifying before a joint hearing of House and Senate education committees, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius released the following statement about the report:

“I deeply appreciate the comprehensive report Auditor Jim Nobles and his staff have produced on the state of special education in Minnesota. It affirms what we have long known: Our state must do a better job of funding special education to meet individual student’s needs and to support the teachers who make a difference in their lives.

Governor Dayton’s budget, and his proactive vision in addressing these issues, would make important inroads to improve the way we deliver special education services. I look forward to working with him and the Legislature to enact critical special education investments and reforms that will help us ensure every child reaches their full potential.”

To view the report, visit the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor website.