K-12 Funding - Special Needs

Date came into force or revised

Issued September 1, 2002. In effect March 1, 2002.



Policy statement

Students with special needs may require additional support and accommodations to enable them to access and participate in educational programs. The Basic Allocation, a standard amount of money provided per school age student enrolled in a school district, includes funds to support the learning needs of students who are identified as having learning disabilities, mild intellectual disabilities, students requiring moderate behaviour supports and students who are gifted.

Additional supplementary funding recognizes the additional cost of providing programs for students with special needs in the following categories: dependent handicapped, deafblind, moderate to profound intellectually disabled, physically disabled or chronic health impaired, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and intensive behaviour interventions or serious mental illness.

Rationale or purpose of policy

In order to provide an inclusive education system in which students with special needs are fully participating members of a community of learners, additional support may be required by means of additional staff, specialized learning materials, physical accommodations or equipment, and assessments to enable them to meet their educational and social needs.


Section 106.3 (5) of the School Act(PDF) provides the legal authority for special needs funding.
See also Ministerial Order M150/89, the Special Needs Students Order (PDF)

Policy in full

In order for a student to qualify for Special Needs funding, the student must be appropriately assessed and identified, and have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in place.

Boards of education reporting students on the 1701 Form as one of the three levels identified below, will receive supplemental Special Needs funding in addition to the Basic Allocation. The students must be provided with special needs supports and meet criteria set out in the Ministry’s Special Education Services, A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines. 

These funds are not targeted to specific students; however, are provided to boards of education to support the needs of students within their district.

Supplemental funding for the following are per the current year's operating grant manual.

  • Level 1   
    • Physically Dependent (A)
    • Deafblind (B)
  • Level 2   
    • Moderate to Profound Intellectual Disability (C)
    • Physical Disability or Chronic Health Impairment (D)
    • Visual Impairment (E)
    • Deaf or Hard of Hearing (F)
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder (G)
  • Level 3   
    • Intensive Behaviour Interventions or Serious Mental Illness (H)

The Basic Allocation provided for all students includes funds to support students with other special needs, including students with mild intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, moderate behaviour support or mental illness, and students who are gifted. The Basic Allocation also includes funds to support boards of education in providing learning assistance, speech-language pathology services and physiotherapy services, hospital homebound services, and assessment services.

A student with special needs may also be eligible to receive funding for Indigenous Education or English Language Learning if the requirements of these programs are also met.

Students with special needs may be enrolled in online learning programs. To qualify for funding, Boards of Education must adhere to program requirements and procedures as outlined in the Online Learning Policy - Students with Special Needs.


Students should be reported on the Form 1701 in the appropriate category.

Boards of education will be funded for each eligible student at the corresponding amount as set out in the current year's operating grant manual.

Documentation to support all claims for Level 1, 2 and 3 special needs funding must include all of the following: (refer to 1701 Form Instructions and the Special Education Services Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines (PDF) for full details)

  • Assessment and identification in relation to the criteria for that category
  • Current Individual Education Plan (IEP) containing appropriate goals for category of student
  • Support services outlined in the IEP related to the student's needs
  • Evidence that a parent has been offered the opportunity to consult on the IEP
  • Evidence of learning activities offered in accordance with IEP
  • Methods for measuring the student's progress.

Students claimed in Levels 1 through 3 must be receiving additional special education services on a regular basis, other than learning assistance, speech or language pathology services, counselling, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology, and hospital/homebound instruction.