Texas special education programs enrollment surges

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Special education programs in Texas have seen a sharp increase in enrollment.

The Houston Chronicle reports that more than 477,000 students received special education services in the 2016-17 school year, an increase of about 14,000 students from the previous school year.

Data from the state’s Public Education Information Management System says almost 9 percent of Texas students use special education resources.

The Texas Education Agency had enacted a cap in 2004 requiring school districts to limit special education services to no more than 8.5 percent of students. The agency removed the cap last year after a newspaper investigation found thousands of students with disabilities didn’t have access to necessary services.

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An agency spokeswoman says districts must identify and provide all special education services to students who need them.