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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Exceptional Student Education Population Grows Dramatically; More Accountability and Better Training Needed to Implement Funding Matrix, Report No. 03-40, July 2003
Full report in PDF format

  • In recent years, enrollment growth in the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program has outpaced the growth rate for the overall Florida student population and the national population of children with disabilities.  Factors contributing to this growth include demographic trends, advances in medical technology, and changes in federal policy. 
  • There has also been substantial variation in the number of Florida children receiving the highest two levels of ESE funding in recent years, due in part to problems with implementing the program’s funding matrix.  These problems affect the funding allocated to school districts for ESE and the Department of Education’s ability to develop effective policies for serving ESE students.
  • A comparison of student files with data from the DOE student database revealed that 25% of the files reviewed had at least one instance of data error, meaning that the matrix level, primary exceptionality, or educational setting listed in the student’s file did not match what was reported in the DOE student database.  These data errors contribute to the inaccuracy of figures reported by DOE to the Legislature.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Exceptional Student Education
Medicaid Health Care Services (AHCA)
Children's Medical Services
Mental Health Services (DCF)
Developmental Disabilities (DCF)

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 08-24 Steps Taken to Implement the Exceptional Student Education Funding Matrix, But More Monitoring Needed, published in April 2008.
  • Report No. 06-49 Progress Report:  Steps Taken to Maximize Federal Revenue for Exceptional Student Education Program, published in May 2006.
  • Report No. 04-39 Information Brief:  Many Children Receiving Intensive Exceptional Student Education Services Are Served by Multiple Programs; No Unnecessary Duplication of Services Found, published in June 2004.
  • Report No. 04-16 Special Report:  Maximizing Federal Revenue Could Help Offset Costly Services for Children with Disabilities, published in February 2004.
  • Report No. 03-58 Special Review:  Florida Could Avoid $1.5 Million Annually in ESE Costs for Out-of-State Students Who Are Placed in Private Residential Facilities, published in October 2003.
  • Report No. 99-19 Progress Report: State's Testing Participation Goal Unmet in Fast-Growing Exceptional Education Program, published in December 1999.
  • Report No. 96-83 Review of the Exceptional Student Education Program Administered by the Department of Education, published in April 1997.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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