Plans to save £32m in children and young people's services over the next four years have been outlined by Nottinghamshire County Council.
There will be a net cut of £10m as £22m of savings will be redirected into children's services, the council said.
The move would involve cutting 400 jobs, which are among 3,000 job losses already announced in the county.
The National Teachers Union said the £3m of cuts to special needs would hurt the students who need help the most.
The council aims to cut £178m from its budget over the next four years.
The proposals include a £2.6m reduction in careers and training advice services.
The authority said it would focus more spending on pupils with high level requirements such as autism.
It also plans to spend more money on children at risk, home-to-school transport and families with disabled parents and carers.
Unison spokesman Martin Sleath said cuts to special needs would hurt frontline services, despite denials by the council.
He said the proposed £1.85m in cuts to youth services - with a loss of 45 out of 88 posts - would hit young people, as would a £2.6m cut in careers and training advice services in the county.
Councillor Philip Owen said overall there would be little impact on frontline services as the cuts would mainly focus on management roles.
"This is an opportunity for us to reshape our services and reinvest significant resources to where they are most needed.
"Difficult decisions need to be made to find the necessary savings."
More than 150 budget proposals will be considered at a county council meeting on 21 October.
Residents can give feedback to the proposals on the council website from early November.