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.

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

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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