Special Education Expenditure Reporting - Instructions for DSBs for 2003-04

Special Education Expenditure Reporting
Instructions for DSBs for 2003-04

April 25, 2003

With the announcement of additional funding for special education in December 2002, and concerns about variation in boards� interpretation of allowable expenditures for reporting on special education, the ministry has determined that there is a need to provide additional guidance to boards on allowable expenses that can be reported as special education expenditures. This will establish a common standard of practice that will support consistency and comparability of information across boards.

This paper provides guidance to DSBs on the ministry�s expectations regarding appropriate expenditure reporting on boards� use of the Special Education Grant allocation. This refers to special education expenditures only, and does not relate to the reporting of expenditures on remedial or Learning Opportunity Grant programs. These instructions supplement existing ministry documentation in the Uniform Code of Accounts, Technical Papers, regulations and memos to school boards.

The instructions provide clarification and explicit direction to boards, and do not represent a change to the ministry�s policy on reporting requirements. As such, these instructions do not diminish the ministry�s commitment to supporting boards� choice in the range and scope of programming and placements they wish to provide for students with special education needs.

In some areas, the instructions describe best practices that boards will be expected to follow if they have systems in place to provide appropriate information. Where an item is not described as a best practice, it is a requirement.

Reporting Special Education Expenditures

The allocation for special education under the student focused funding model is intended to cover the incremental costs of providing special education programs and services. This means that only the additional costs associated with meeting the needs of special education student are considered to be special education expenditures for the purposes of enveloping.

The Special Education Grant was not intended to cover all board expenditures related to providing special education programs and services. Specifically, the grant was not intended to cover the additional costs of board administration, transportation and school operational costs. These expenses were taken into account when other grants within the student focused funding model were developed.

Since other grants, such as the Foundation Grant, Transportation Grant, and the Administration and Governance Grant, provide funding for all students, these grants generate revenue that is expected to be used to support the infrastructure and basic direct service costs of serving a boards� student population. This includes costs associated with transportation, secretarial support to administrators and coordinators, and librarians or guidance counsellors.

As is already outlined in the Uniform Code of Accounts, expenditures in respect of other program categories, such as ESL and learning opportunities, are not to be included in special education.

Reporting on Integrated & Resource Withdrawal Programs

For integrated and resource-withdrawal programs, only incremental costs associated with serving special education students are to be reported. Expenditures related to regular classroom teachers, supplies, classroom computers and other standard classroom expenditures are not to be included as they are not incremental to the cost of providing programs and service to a class. For example, expenditures for a teacher�s assistant who supports three special education students in an integrated class would be an incremental cost and therefore should be reported as a special education expense.

Reporting on Self Contained Classes

Boards are to report the entire cost of some expenditure categories for self contained classes. As part of the Enveloping calculation, the Financial Reports contain an adjustment for self contained classes, so that a portion of the Foundation Grant for students in these classes is deducted from reported expenditures, because it covers the basic costs of these classes. This portion includes the Foundation Grant allocation for teachers, teachers� assistants, and preparation time. This allows the remaining costs to be included as incremental special education expenditures.

Costs associated with library/guidance and in-school administration, which includes the cost of principals, vice-principals, and secretaries, will generally NOT be reported as a special education expenditure because these costs are not incremental to the cost of operating a school. However, in certain exceptional situations, boards may charge certain costs associated with library/guidance and in-school administration where additional resources have been specifically and clearly assigned to schools to meet the needs of a very high concentration of special education students. Boards will be required to demonstrate that any charges for in school administration or library/guidance to the special education envelope are incremental to the standard board allotment of administrative resources to individual schools, and are due to the presence of special education students.

Average Class Size Calculation

Self contained special education classes are to be excluded from the calculation of average class size. Where this occurs, the expenditures for the classroom teacher and preparation time are to be reported as special education expenditures.

Where a small, special purpose class (for example, vocational high school, remediation program) is not considered to be a special education self contained class, the class may be included in the calculation of average class size, and the expenditures are to be reported as part of the board�s regular program and are not to be reported as special education.

Reporting Staff Costs

Since all boards do not have information systems that provide details on staff assignments, it is necessary to propose a best practice approach. To report staff costs (salaries, benefits, and retirement gratuities), boards will:

  • use the most accurate approach, as noted below, given their current systems;
  • be consistent on the treatment of an item within a report (for example, Estimates or Financial Statements);
  • disclose the approach used in each report to local SEACs;
  • use the board average for retirement gratuities throughout all reports.

In Estimates, it is acceptable for boards to use average staff costs for all staff categories, as specific staff assignments are not yet known for the coming school year. In some boards, the use of actual staff costs may be known, where core staff are expected to remain in place. In all cases, the best estimate is to be used.

In Financial Statements, boards should report actual staff costs for teachers and teachers� assistants wherever possible.

For reporting on supply and occasional teachers, the best practice is to use actual days of staff assignments to replace special education teachers, multiplied by average per diem salary and benefit costs. This is preferable to using the average numbers of days that all teachers throughout the board are replaced, as this may be high (due to non-replacement) or low (due to above average absences). Where a board is unable to track actual replacements, any types of teachers that are not replaced (such as special education resource teachers) should be excluded from a calculation of an average replacement rate.

Expenditure Categories

The following section provides descriptions of the specific types of items boards may report as special education expenditures, for the purpose of meeting the enveloping requirement. Items are considered inclusive and exhaustive; if an item does not fit within the characterization given below, it is not to be considered a special education expenditure.

Classroom Teachers

  • teachers of self contained classes;
  • special education resource teachers (SERTs);
  • itinerant special education teachers supporting classroom teachers (to do educational assessments, develop special education student programs) and providing direct instruction.

Occasional /Supply Teachers

  • supply and occasional teachers replacing special education teachers in self contained classes or resource withdrawal settings.

Teacher Assistants

  • special education teachers� assistants in integrated, resource withdrawal, and self contained settings;
  • supply teachers� assistants replacing special education assistants.

Textbooks, Learning Materials, Classroom Supplies & Equipment

  • incremental cost of additional supplies, textbooks, learning materials for integrated and self contained classes, excluding costs for materials for special education classes that are purchased as part of the board�s normal, regular day school, school-based textbook and supply purchasing arrangement;
  • actual cost of purchasing and maintaining specialized or adapted materials or equipment, including computer software;
  • testing materials for specialized assessments;
  • classroom supplies related to ISA 4 classrooms;
  • for field trips: total cost of transportation and bus monitor costs for field trips for self contained classes and incremental costs for transportation and bus monitor costs for field trips for special education students in integrated classes. (Excludes costs of transportation for co-op and job placements and any other trips that are part of the regular school program, such as alternative physical education programming. These are to be reported as part of school to school transportation costs).

Classroom Computers

  • incremental cost of specialized computer hardware for special education students in integrated and self contained classrooms, excluding costs for computers for special education classes that are purchased as part of the board�s normal, regular day school computer purchasing arrangement.

Professionals, Paraprofessionals & Technicians

  • costs for professionals and para-professionals working with students receiving special education programs and services, and technicians working on specialized special education equipment, prorated on a rational, defensible basis to reflect the proportion of staff time spent in services and supports for students with special education needs; different rates for different types of staff may be used to reflect board experience with the demands on staff resources to support special education students;
  • heads of professional departments, such as psychology and social work, prorated to reflect the proportion of staff time spent in services and supports for students with special education needs;
  • proportion of early identification and assessment costs associated with work conducted by professionals and para-professionals, based on board experience with the proportion of students found to have special education needs;
  • excludes secretaries supporting professionals, para-professionals, and technicians, as these are to be included in board administration.

Library & Guidance

  • generally not to be reported; however, costs may be reported related to library and guidance staff in schools where it can be demonstrated that additional resources have been allocated to a school due to a very high concentration of students with special education needs; excludes any additional resources assigned due to support LOG programs.

Staff Development

  • all special education related professional development for all special education staff, including teachers� assistants, supply teachers and professionals;
  • supply teachers backfilling for teachers of self contained special education classes and special education resource teachers (SERTs) on any training, or for teachers of regular classes attending special education related professional development.

Preparation Time

  • portion of teachers� salary (including home instruction teachers working with students with special education needs) that does not relate to instructional time, such as preparation time and on-call time not used to cover teacher absences; exclude release time for department heads (as per Code of Accounts) OR cost of providing additional staff to cover for special education teachers or SERTs when they are replaced in a class for preparation time;
  • include a portion of any teachers� time, (for example, 10% of salary and benefit costs, according to number of minutes referenced in collective agreements), where teachers are not replaced in a class as they do not have a class responsibility for this portion of the day.

Principals, Vice-Principals

  • generally not to be reported; however, costs may be reported related only to schools where it can be demonstrated that additional resources have been allocated to a school due to a very high concentration of students with special education needs; excludes any additional resources assigned due to support LOG programs.

Department Heads

  • school based special education department head allowances.

School Office – Secretarial & Supplies

  • generally not to be reported; however, costs may be reported related to secretaries in schools where it can be demonstrated that additional resources have been allocated to a school due to a very high concentration of students with special education needs;
  • excludes any additional resources assigned due to support LOG programs.

Coordinators & Consultants

  • special education consultants and coordinators;
  • any principal or vice principal without a school that provides special education program supervision (excluding supervision of remedial programs);
  • excludes secretaries supporting consultants and coordinators, as these are to be included in board administration.

Appendix: Special Education Enveloping

The following table provides a summary of the expected treatment of expenditures for different types of classes. Adjustments to remove the appropriate portions of the Foundation Grant and other Special Purpose Grants (e.g. Teacher Qualifications and Experience Grant, French as a First Langage portion of the Language Grant and Early Learning Grant) are made within the Enveloping schedule of the financial forms.



Treatment of Special Education Expenditures by Type of Class
  Costs Associated with Type of Class Foundation Grant Deduction for Students in Self Contained Classes
Expenditure Category Integrated Self Contained Elem Sec
Classroom Teachers
Classroom Teachers 0 100% of total cost $2,472 $2,596
Occasional/Supply Teachers 0 100% of total cost $88 $65
Preparation Time 0 100% of total cost $247 $532
Other Direct Costs
Special Education Resource Teachers (SERTs) 100% of cost of SERTs, including supply teachers and preparation time No
Teachers' Assistants 100% of cost of special education teachers' assistants No
Professionals, Para-professionals & Technicians Portion related to special education No
Coordinators and Consultants 100% of cost of special education coordinators and consultants No
Staff Development Portion related to special education No
Department Heads 100% of special education department head allowances No
Indirect Costs
Textbooks, Learning Materials, Supplies and Equipment Incremental special education costs No
Classroom Computers Incremental special education costs No
Library/Guidance Generally not permitted, but allowable where allocation of additional resources can be documented, due to very high concentration of students with special education needs. No
Principals, Vice Principals Generally not permitted, but allowable where allocation of additional resources can be documented, due to very high concentration of students with special education needs. No
School Office - Secretarial & Supplies Generally not permitted, but allowable where allocation of additional resources can be documented, due to very high concentration of students with special education needs. No