AB 602: Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) Apportionment


Special Education Local Planning Areas (SELPAs) are consortiums of school districts and county offices of education within a geographical region of sufficient size and scope. A region might be composed of a group of many small districts or a single large district, but each region must be of sufficient size and scope to provide the full continuum of services for youth residing within the SELPA boundaries.  The current SELPA funding model is based on California legislation passed in 1997 (AB 602) that implemented a “census-based” special education funding structure. The formula allocates funding based on a SELPA’s total average daily attendance (ADA), with the remainder distributed based on specific circumstances, rather than on the number of students identified to receive special education services.

Eligible Child or Adolescent Populations

All K-12 SELPAs are eligible for funding. SELPAs must provide for all special education service needs of children residing within the region boundaries. A student qualifies for special education once the school determines that it cannot meet the student’s needs through the general education programs. Once this is determined, the student is assessed for a disability and whether that disability interferes with the student’s education.

Services Covered

While SELPAs receive AB 602 funds based on overall ADA counts, they generally use these funds to support the excess costs of educating students with disabilities and provide all the services identified in a student’s Individualized Education Plan. AB 602 funds also complement additional special education funding (see #4, AB 114) that helps provide educationally necessary mental health services to students with disabilities.

AB 602 funds a variety of practices that can include evidence-based practices such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
  • Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS)

Funding Process

The AB 602 base allocation—which in 2012-13 included about $2.9 billion in state funds and $1 billion in federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) monies—is the largest source of funding that SELPAs receive for special education. Each SELPA has a unique per-pupil special education funding rate consisting of both state and federal funds. These AB 602 rates vary across SELPAs from about $500 to $1,100 per student, based primarily on what the SELPA received before the AB 602 legislation was adopted.  The exact mix of federal and state funds making up each rate varies based on a number of factors. Federal IDEA funds average about $180 per student, with state funds making up the difference.

Additional Information

Assembly Bill 602 SELPA Apportionment: Click to learn more.

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