The Florida Legislature
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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Review of the Exceptional Student Education Program Administered by the Department of Education, Report No. 96-83, April 1997
Full report in PDF format

  • During the 1995-96 school year, Florida spent approximately $1.75 billion for special programs, services, and facilities to serve 368,710 exceptional students. If these students' needs could have been met without exceptional education programs, their education would have cost approximately $665 million, or $1.08 billion less.
  • The number and percentage of Florida children served in exceptional student education programs and the cost of serving those children is increasing both in Florida and nationally.
  • Research indicates that two of the major factors contributing to the increase in Florida's exceptional student population are rising educational expectations and the increasing number and percentage of Florida children living in poverty.
  • Florida school districts vary in their use of the exceptional education program. The Department of Education has not evaluated the cost-effectiveness of different district approaches to serving exceptional students. However, the Department has begun development of a system to evaluate the effectiveness of the exceptional student education program.
  • The Department has expressed concerns that some districts are not serving exceptional students in the least restrictive manner. To address these concerns, the Department has recommended changes in the distribution of funds for exceptional education programs.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Exceptional Student Education

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • 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. 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. 03-40 Special Report: Exceptional Student Education Population Grows Dramatically; More Accountability and Better Training Needed to Implement Funding Matrix, published in July 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. 98-38 Follow-up Review of Early Education and Child Care Programs, published in January 1999.
  • Report No. 98-28 Review of Education Services in Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities, published in December 1998.
  • Report No. 98-19 Best Financial Management Practice Review Manatee County School District, published in October 1998.

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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