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Special Education and School-Age Parents Aid


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Special Education and School-Age Parents Aid (SPED) is the major categorical aid program supporting special education in Wisconsin. Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) receive partial reimbursement for certain special education instructional, transportation, and other costs from the prior fiscal year. Total costs have  exceeded the funding available previously and approximately one quarter to one-third of eligible expenses may be reimbursed.

The SPED categorical aid program provides state funding for special education services to children with disabilities and school-age parents. Special education aid is provided under ss. 115.88 and 118.255, Wis. Stats. and aid for school-age parents falls under s. 115.93. Aid is funded through the same appropriation, s. 20.255(2)(b) and the vast majority of aid is for special education. This is a cost-reimbursement program that provides funding based on eligible costs in the prior year, similar to Equalization Aid.

Eligible Agencies

School districts, Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs), County Children with Disability Education Boards (CCDEBs) and Independedent Charter Schools (ICS) may receive special education aid under s. 115.88. Aid for health treatment related to particular disabilities under s. 118.255 is available to districts, CESAs and CCDEBs (not ICS) with an approved plan. Aid for school-age parent programs under s. 115.93 is available only to school districts.

Eligible Costs

Only the excess costs of providing special education to children with disabilities (defined in s. 115.76) and school-age parents are eligible for state categorical aid. Aid is available for the salary and benefits of licensed teachers, aides and support staff, the cost of transportation, and other specified costs. Staff eligibility for categorical aid is dependent on both licensure and assignment. The eligibility requirements for categorical aid are generally stricter than funding under the Federal IDEA Grant.


Special education and school-age parents categorical aid is a sum-certain appropriation in the biennial budget. The total appropriation for aid payment in FY 2023-24 was $558,036,700. Aid payments are prorated since the total eligible costs exceed the appropriation; in recent years the proration rate has been in the range of 25 to 30 percent. This year’s November through March interim payments used a proration rate of 31.5 percent. A slightly lower rate is used for these payments to avoid over-payment. The final payment in June 2024 reflected each LEA’s full aid eligibility at the year’s final aid rate of 32.40%.

Funding FY2024-25 

In FY2024-25, the SPED appropriation in the Final 2023 Wisconsin Act 19 2023-25 Biennial Budget is $574,777,700. The categroical aid proration will be available in late October of 2024 prior to the first FY2025 SPED aid calc based on FY 2023-24 expenses.

Payment Details

SPED Aid is paid throughout the fiscal year over six payments. The first five payments are made on the third Mondays from November through March, each being 15 percent of the total amount under a conservative proration estimate. A final payment of 25 percent (plus or minus any adjustments after the proration is finalized) is made the second Monday of June. Revenue is coded to Fund 27, source 611. LEAs can view their aid payment on the STAR Aids Register.

Spring 2024 Updates

FY2022-23 Final Special Education Aid Payment 

The amounts for the June 10, 2024, payment of Special Education and School-Age Parents categorical aid have been determined. The aid payment rate for the June aid payment has been increased to 32.40%. A slightly lower rate is used for previous monthly payments to avoid over payment; the final payment in June 2024 reflected each LEA’s full aid eligibility at the year’s final aid rate.  Aid computation and eligibility worksheets have been posted.  

For questions about this information, contact Rick Cruz (608) 266-8255 or  

Schedule a time to meet with Rick Cruz virtually.


Quick Links

Eligibility and Coding

What costs are eligible for aid? How do we account for them?

Fiscal Reporting

How do we report our special education costs to DPI?

Payment Worksheets

How much aid are we receiving? How was that amount determined?

Subscribe to the School Finance Bulletin for reporting updates and deadlines.

For questions about this information, contact Rick Cruz (608) 266-8255, (608) 267-9114