Lawmakers pass $14M increase in special needs student fund

Missouri lawmakers have sent to Gov. Jay Nixon an extra budget for the current fiscal year which includes a $14 million increase for a fund that reimburses schools for the cost of special needs children.

The "High Needs" fund pays schools for students that cost more than three times the amount of a typical student in the same district.

The spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says the fund typically increases by about 10 percent every year, but this year's increase is 18 percent, which she called "unusual."

The cost increase isn't only because there are more kids with special needs. School districts have also been getting better at documenting high-cost students and collecting the reimbursement money.