The state of Pennsylvania does not have a funding formula in use at this time. However, in practice, the state currently funds special education using a hybrid system incorporating multiple student weights and a block grant.
Of the nearly $1 billion spent by the state on special education each year, the large majority is distributed at levels that have been frozen for several years. That money was originally distributed in accordance with a census-based system that assumed a special education prevalence rate of 16%, but now, the money is distributed as a block grant.
The remainder of state special education funding, approximately 2% of state funding spent for this purpose, is distributed according to a formula that includes three weighted student categories and adjusts the funds distributed based on district size, rurality, and property wealth.
Personal communication from Hannah Barrick, Director of Advocacy, Pennsylvania Associations of School Business Officials, on November 17, 2015.