Flint, MI— The Genesee Intermediate School District released its first special education payments to local districts under a new state-imposed funding formula Dec. 18.
State Superintendent Michael Rice ordered the previous formula be changed “immediately” on Nov. 24 after determining the GISD was not satisfying the “legal requirements that intermediate school district plans be designed to meet the needs of each student with a disability.”
While most districts stand to lose dollars, Flint Schools will receive an additional $288,000 this fiscal year, raising the district’s total special education fund to just over half a million dollars.
Other schools and districts that will gain special education funds include Atherton, Bendle, Carman Ainsworth, Flex High, Flushing, Genesee, Kearsley, Linden, Mount Morris, and Way Academy.
In February, Flint Schools filed a formal objection with the GISD, alleging the formula for how special education funds were distributed did not provide adequate financial support to Flint students with special education needs.
The GISD Mandatory Plan allocates $3.8 million dollars of Act 18 Millage Funds to local districts for special education reimbursement. GISD distributes the money between its 21 districts and 15 charter schools based on a three-part, blended student formula.
Rice ruled the previous formula disproportionately favored districts with a higher general student population rather than those with the most special education students.
The new formula averages the sum of each local district’s or public school academy’s share of the county’s full-time special education students, or students who spend the majority of their week in a special education classroom, and its share of Genesee’s total special education head count, which includes special education students who recieve any amount of services. It removes the general student body from the equation entirely.
Flint schools have the highest number of full-time special education students in Genesee County, a total of 262 students. Under the previous formula, the district would have received $252,307.95 in special education funds.
To compare, the Grand Blanc School district has 152 full-time special education students and would have received $491,198.88 under the previous formula.
Now, Grand Blanc Schools will receive approximately $425,000 while Flint Schools will receive $550,000 for the 2020-21 school year.
The GISD released the first of five Act 18 payments in October before Rice’s ruling took effect.
GISD Associate Superintendent Steven Tunnicliff said the remaining payments will be adjusted based on the new formula.