Portantino & Roth Propose Funding Plan for State’s Youngest & Vulnerable Students

Wednesday, February 6 2019

Sacramento, California - Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge) Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senator Richard Roth, (D-Riverside) Chair of Senate Budget Sub-Committee on Education, announced the introduction of SB 217- the Special Education Early Intervention Grant Program. The bill will provide school districts with funding for early special education services.

SB 217-The Special Education Early Intervention Grant Program- will provide school districts a supplemental $4,000 grant for each 3- and 4-year-old child with special needs who is served in an inclusive early educational setting, including public or private preschool. The bill also will allow 4 year olds to enroll in transitional kindergarten if they have special needs.

“Too many districts are struggling to provide the services students need at their current funding levels. This proposal is a strategic investment to support districts and children with special needs. We believe it is a practical and fiscally responsible way to increase services and resources that will make a positive impact on our youngest and most vulnerable children,” commented Senator Portantino.

Research demonstrates that investment in high quality early interventions not only improve student outcomes, but also saves school districts money in the long run. Many students who receive support at an early age, no longer require special education services when they are older.

“According to the California Department of Education, special education enrollment has grown exponentially in the last decade – with more than 96,000 students coming to school districts across the state. We must ensure schools have the resources they need to meet this quickly growing demand. Being able to get every California student the individual education plan and resources they need is critical to their success and our success as a state,” said Senator Richard D. Roth.

School districts across the state are grappling with the cost of special education. Over 10 percent of California’s student population receives special education services. Currently, school districts are not provided with additional state special education funding to serve 3 and 4-year-olds with special needs. The Special Education Early Intervention Grant Program changes that and will provide districts with urgently needed financial support. Districts would be eligible for grant funds based on students in the proposed expansion of transitional kindergarten and state or private preschool. 

“A core principle of Riverside County schools is to ensure access and educational equity for all students.  We thank Senators Portantino and Roth for advancing a proposal that will support young children with special needs, and place them on a path to success,” stated Dr. Judy D. White, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools.

Senators Portantino and Roth will introduce a bill to establish the Special Education Early Intervention Grant Program Wednesday February 6, 2019.