Fiscal Tools

Special Education Efficiency Tool

Local education agencies (LEAs) throughout the state face an ongoing challenge in funding the costs of serving special education students. FCMAT has developed the Special Education Efficiency Tool as a resource for LEAs to analyze various areas within special education. The intent is for fiscal and special education staff to work together to complete the tool, and for this process to help guide a conversation about how to provide the best services for students in the most efficient manner.

The tool has 21 questions, some of which are tied to worksheets in the tool. This allows an LEA to identify areas that may need additional attention as each is identified by a “no” or “not met” response.

A district should consider discussing the items in the Special Education Efficiency Tool regularly, and should complete the tool annually.



Click an FAQ to open the container and view the answer.

Additional Resources

Using the FCMAT Special Education Efficiency Tool

Presentation handout from CASBO Sacramento Section Spring Conference in March 2020 by FCMAT Intervention Specialist, Tami Ethier.


Students with Disabilities - Education Plan by Primary Disability, CALPADS report 16.1, is used to calculate the identification rates for the SELPA average item in the tool. A sample report is included in the training presentation. Note, login credentials are required to access CALPADS.


DataQuest provides meaningful data and statistics about California's K-12 public educational system that supports a wide variety of informational, research, and policy needs. Summary and detailed data reports are available for multiple subject areas at the school, district, county, and state levels.

Dataquest's statewide enrollment by subgroup for charter and non-charter schools is referenced in the tool.


CalEdFacts is a compilation of statistics and information on a variety of issues concerning education in California. CalEdFacts' psychologist and nurse caseload information is referenced in the tool.

School Services of California - Special Education Costs: Local Contributions Exceed 65% of Total Funding in 2017–18

Fiscal Report article by School Services of California discussing the historical funding sources for special education. The 2017-18 unrestricted general fund contribution rate is referenced in the tool. Note, an account is required to view the article.