IDEA Funding for FY 2021 Still Pending: Update November 2020

November 16th, 2020

The U.S. Congress has yet to settle on appropriations for Fiscal Year 2021 which began on October 1, 2020. Here’s what has happened so far:

  • On July 31, 2020 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7617, a bill to fund several federal agencies for the FY 2021 including the U.S. Dept. of Education. It provided a small increase ($194 million) in IDEA Grants to States. The bill was sent to the Senate for consideration. The Senate failed to act.
  • On September 30, 2020 the Congress passed and the President signed HR 8337, a bill to extend fiscal 2020 funding for the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies through Dec. 11, 2020. This will keep IDEA funding at the FY 20 level until Dec. 11, 2020 or until Congress passes an appropriations bill. More here.
  • On November 10, 2020 the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education which includes $12.9 billion for IDEA Part B grants to states (a $125 million increase from FY 2020) and $485 million for IDEA Part C grants to states (a $8 million increase from FY 2020).

Congress must either finalize a FY 2021 appropriations bill to fund the
Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education by December 11, 2020 OR pass another continuing resolution. Either way, it looks like there will be little if any increased IDEA funding, leaving Federal funding for IDEA far below the amount promised.

USED offers Waivers on Spending of IDEA Funds

June 10th, 2020

The U.S. Education Department (USED) is providing states a one-year extension to spend their FFY 2018 IDEA Part B funds. In a June 8, 2020 letter to state education chiefs, Acting Ass’t Sec’y Mark Schultz advised states that they may request a waiver that will permit the state educational agency and its subgrantees (e.g. local educational agencies or school districts) to use Federal fiscal year (FFY) 2018 IDEA Part B grant award funds for an additional year beyond what is known as the Tydings period.

All states receive a federal grant under Part B of the IDEA, called a section 611 grant, to support special education and related services for children ages 3 through 21 as well as a section 619 grant, which are IDEA funds to support the education of children ages 3 through 5. (Click here for FY 2018 grants by state)

Section 421 (b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) allows state education agencies and local districts an additional 12 months (known at the Tydings Period) to obligate any funds that were not obligated at the end of the initial 15-month grant period. As a result of the Tydings Period, states have 27 months to obligate funding for each federal fiscal award. For the most part, local grant funds are spent down long before this 27 month timeline.

Under normal spending rules, FFY 2018 IDEA Part B grant funds must be spent by Sept. 30, 2020. The additional year lets districts take another 12 months to obligate those funds – until Sept. 30, 2021. All funds must be spent by Dec. 30, 2021. (In any given year, states and local districts are planning for, obligating, expending, and liquidating up to four years of IDEA grant awards.)

USED provided a template for states to use to request the waiver and promises a quick response.

UPDATE: 45 states/territories applied for and receive approval for the Part B Period of Availability waiver. Details available here.

This action, authorized by the CARES Act, is unlikely to provide much relief for school districts with regard to IDEA’s maintenance of effort requirements (MOE) since the larger problem in meeting MOE for this school year is spending local – or state and local – funds, as laid out in this Position Statement by the Council of Administrators of Special Education.

MORE: This document explains the life cycle of IDEA grant funds. (PDF)


Clarifying LEA MOE Requirements and Consequences

May 28th, 2020

A group of education organizations recently sent a letter to key members of Congress asking for “flexibility” related to the local maintenance of effort requirements in the IDEA. The letter is available here and states, in part:

” Under IDEA, when a district fails to maintain fiscal effort for special education, the district must pay back any unspent special education funding to the federal government.”

This statement is totally inaccurate and is sure to lead to more misunderstanding of one of the key requirements of IDEA.

In fact, the issue of the consequences when an LEA (school district) fails to meet its MOE requirement is spelled out in OSEP’s 2015 non-regulatory guidance issued following release of MOE regulations. The pertinent Q+As are:

Question E-1: What are the consequences of an LEA’s failure to meet the MOE compliance standard?

Answer: If an LEA fails to meet the MOE compliance standard, the SEA is liable in a recovery action under section 452 of GEPA (20 U.S.C. 1234a) to return to the Department, using non-Federal funds, an amount equal to the amount by which the LEA failed to maintain its level of expenditures in that fiscal year, or the amount of the LEA’s IDEA Part B subgrant in that fiscal year, whichever is lower.

Question E-2: How do the GEPA requirements interact with LEA MOE?

Answer: Under 20 U.S.C. 1234b, a failure to comply with expenditure requirements, including the IDEA’s LEA MOE requirement, is a harm to an identifiable Federal interest. If an LEA fails to meet the MOE requirement, the SEA is liable in a recovery action for the amount that is proportionate to the extent of the harm the violation caused to the identifiable Federal interest – that is, the amount by which the LEA failed to maintain its level of expenditures for the education of children with disabilities, or the amount of the LEA’s Part B subgrant, whichever is lower. The SEA is responsible for ensuring that LEAs receiving an IDEA Part B subgrant comply with all applicable requirements of that statute and its implementing regulations, including the MOE requirement. If an LEA, in a particular fiscal year, fails to meet the MOE requirement, the Department has authority to take steps to recover the appropriate amount of funds from the SEA. The SEA, in turn, following applicable State procedures, could seek reimbursement from the LEA. See July 26, 2006, letter to Ms. Carol Ann Baglin, available at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/letters/2006-3/baglin072606moe3q2006.pdf.

Question E-3: Why does the SEA have to pay funds when an LEA fails to meet its MOE requirement?

Answer: The SEA (acting on behalf of the State), not the LEA, is the grantee in the IDEA Part B program. As a condition of eligibility for an IDEA Part B grant, States must provide an assurance to the Department that the SEA is responsible for ensuring that, among other things, all requirements of Part B are met. IDEA § 612(a)(11)(A)(i) (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(11)(A)(i)). SEAs may minimize LEA noncompliance by carefully reviewing the LEA’s application for an IDEA Part B subgrant to determine if the LEA meets the eligibility standard, by monitoring for compliance on a regular basis, and by providing technical assistance to LEAs. SEAs that find an LEA is failing to comply with the MOE requirement may take further enforcement action as provided in 34 CFR §300.222.

Other issued raised in the groups’ letter are accurate and we wish to acknowledge those here:

  • “Unlike districts, states can receive a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to reduce Title I and IDEA funding if they are experiencing financial distress.”

CORRECT: The IDEA provides a “one-year waiver” provision for states, which is detailed at 34 CFR section 300.163. During the Great Recession, eight states requested a waiver to reduce their state financial support to LEAs. Details are available here. Importantly, states requesting a waiver must ensure the Secretary that the state will continue to ensure that FAPE is available to all students with disabilities within the state (34 CFR section 300.164 (c)(1)).

While IDEA does not contain a similar “waiver” provision, it does provide several allowable ways that LEAs may reduce their MOE. These include

  • Departure of special education personnel (voluntary or for just cause).
  • Decrease in number of special education students.
  • End of an exceptionally costly education program for a particular child (moves out, graduates, ages out, or no longer needs an exceptionally costly program).
  • End of obligation for long‐term purchases (such as the acquisition of equipment or construction of school facilities).
  • Assumption of cost by the SEA for high-need children with disabilities.

In addition, LEAs may also reduce their MOE in years when their IDEA sub-grant exceeds the previous year, as long as they meet certain conditions. This provision, known as the “50 percent rule” allows an LEA to reduce its spending level by up to half of the amount of the additional Federal funds. Should Congress provide additional one-time appropriations for IDEA, as many groups are requesting, this provision would be triggered. The result would be that up to 50 percent of the additional appropriation could be moved to other education expenditures. (More here)

  • “Unfortunately, the maintenance of effort requirements in IDEA do not have a pandemic exception.”

CORRECT: None of our education laws have a “pandemic exception.” However, it is important to remember that Congress asked the U.S. Secretary of Education to submit a report with recommended waiver authority due to the pandemic. In that report, the Secretary recommended only a couple of IDEA waivers to IDEA, with none having to do with LEA maintenance of effort.

Let’s keep working together to figure out how best to serve the nation’s 7 million school-age students with disabilities, appreciate the unparalleled situation we are currently experiencing, and stick to the facts.

More: We’ve teamed up with Stride Policy Solutions to produce issue briefs on IDEA State and LEA MOE Requirements and the LEA MOE 50% Reduction Provision.

May 28, 2020

CARES Act Education Funding: What’s In It for Students with Disabilities?

April 22nd, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the ‘‘CARES Act’’ was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020. It provides over $2 trillion of assistance measures, including $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund.

While the CARES Act did not include any funds earmarked specifically for the IDEA, the education funding made available can, in fact, be used to serve students with disabilities.

The Education Stabilization Fund includes the following grant programs for K-12 education:

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF)

$13.2 billion available for formula grants (distributed based on the Title I formula under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as the Every Student Succeeds Act) to states, which will then distribute 90% of funds to local educational agencies (LEAs) to meet needs of all students, including students with disabilities. LEA is a term that generally refers to your local school district.

ESSERF state allocations are available here.
(More on ESSERF)

Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF)

Governors in each state will receive a share of $3 billion to allocate at their discretion for emergency support grants to LEAs that the state educational agency deems have been most significantly impacted by coronavirus. As opposed to the formula grants (above), these funds are at the discretion of the Governor to support the LEAs to continue to provide educational services to their students and to support the on-going operations of the LEA.

GEERF state allocations are available here.
(More on GEERF)

CARES makes clear that funds from both the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund can be used for activities authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as well as other education laws. Specifically, listed are activities to address the unique needs of low-income children, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth.

In fact, the application for the Governor’s relief fund asks states to describe how, with respect to LEAs, the state intends to use the funds to help students and teachers adopt or improve remote learning that serves all students, including students with disabilities. The application also asks states to describe the strategies used to serve disadvantaged populations, including students with disabilities, with respect to technological capacity and access.

Here’s what you can do to ensure that students with disabilities are included in the use of CARES funds:

  • Contact: Your State Department of Education and Special Education Agency to ensure guidance to LEAs that the use of funds includes students with disabilities and to ensure technical assistance to help LEAs implement best practices for remote learning that meets individualized educational programs for students, to provide teachers with professional development, and to inform parents about their rights.

  • Contact: Your LEA to work on developing plans for funds being used to benefit students with disabilities. These plans could include assistance to help implement best practices for remote learning that meets individualized educational programs for students, to provide teachers with professional development, to inform parents about their rights.

Also, be sure to encourage maximum transparency on planned uses of these new federal funds by posting plans on LEA websites and the state website in languages accessible to students/families in the district.

Details on all of the CARES Act’s Education Stabilization Fund programs are available here.

Download this in PDF.


Most LEAs are MOE compliant in SY 2017-2018

February 25th, 2020

February 2020

The U.S. Dept. of Education has released new data for states on a number of aspects of children with disabilities, as required by IDEA. The new data is available here.

For the second year in a row, the data includes a report on the number and percentage of Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) – commonly known as school districts – that each state reviewed and found to be in compliance with IDEA’s MOE requirements – this time, for the 2017-2018 school year. (Data for the 2016-2017 school year is here.) (More about MOE is available here.)

The data, below, show all LEAs to be compliant in almost all states.

MOE LEA compliance 2017-2018

Download this table (PDF)

Source: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/static-tables/2017-2018/part-b/ceis-and-moe/1718-bmaintenancedistrict-6.xlsx

President’s FY 2021 Budget leaves education out in the cold.

February 12th, 2020

The administration released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 on February 10, 2020. While advocates for education funding were not surprised to see a proposed reduction in funding for the U.S. Dept. of Education ($6.1 billion or 8%), most were surprised to see a proposal to do away with almost all programs authorized under the ESEA and replace them with a new block grant known as the Elementary and Secondary Education for the disadvantaged block grant. The block grant would replace 29 programs while cutting $4.7 billion, or nearly 20 percent, of the funding those formula-based and competitively awarded programs received in fiscal year 2020.

While funding for Special Education is not part of the block grant proposal, such a significant reduction to programs serving other vulnerable populations would certainly have an impact on students with disabilities. Local districts would certainly need to look for savings in all areas, including special education, to offset the reduction in Federal funds. And, students with disabilities are disproportionately represented among low income students, English learners, neglected and delinquent, and homeless students – the students who will feel the brunt of the proposed reductions and elimination of use of funds. (To see how much your state would lose, check out this table put together by the Center for American Progress.)

Special Education. The FY 2021 budget proposes a $100 million increase for IDEA Part B grants to states – from FY2020 funding of $12,764 billion to $12,864 billion. But this increase is absorbed by the anticipated increase in the number of students to be served by special education (ages 3-21), resulting in no increase in “per child” funding. Click here for a history of Federal appropriations.

All other Special Education programs are funded at the FY2020 level:
Preschool grants (IDEA B-619) at $394.1 million
Grants for infants and families (IDEA Part C) at $477.0 million
National activities (IDEA Part D) at $229.6 million.
Special Olympics gets level funding ( $20.1 million) after receiving a hefty increase in FY2020.
Detailed information on the proposed budget for Special education is available here. (PDF, 93 pgs.)

Over in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Special education research is level funded at $56.5 million and Special education studies and evaluations also receives level funding at $10.8 million.

!Remember that the administration’s proposed budget is just that – a proposal to Congress. In the coming months, Congress will begin work on annual appropriations bills and hold hearings to explore the proposals. First up: Education secretary DeVos will testify before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 at 10 AM ET. The hearing can be viewed here.

Special Education gets small increase in FY 2020 funding bill.

December 17th, 2019

The U.S. Congress passed and the President signed an appropriations bill (called the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020) to fund several federal agencies through FY 2020, which ends September 30, 2020.

Programs funded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are funded as follows:

Grants to States:

  • Grants to states for children with disabilities ages 3-21 (Part B, Section 611) $12.764 billion – an increase of $400 million over FY 2019 or 3.2%.
  • Grants to states for children with disabilities ages 3-5 (Part B, Section 619) $394 million – an ncrease of $3 million over FY 2019 or .8%.
  • Grants for infants and families (Part C) $477 million – an increase of $7 million over FY 2019 or 1.5%

Part D Support Programs: (All programs are funded at FY 2019 level unless noted)

  • State Personnel Development Grants – $39 million
  • Technical assistance and dissemination – $44 million
  • Special Olympics education programs – $20 million (increase of $2 million or 14%
  • Personnel Preparation – $89.7 million – an increase of $2.5 million or 2.9%
  • Parent Information Centers – $27 million
  • Education technology, media, and materials – $29.5 million – an increase of $1.5 million or 5.3%

TOTAL $13.885 billion – an increase of $417 million or 3.1% over FY 2019.

Some important points to remember regarding the increase given to Grants to states:

  • LEAs – the school districts that will receive the increase in federal funds – are allowed to reduce their special education spending by up to 50% of the increase. (See maintenance of effort for more)
  • The very nominal increase provided – 3.2% over FY 2019 – will not result in a “per child” increase since the number of children being served under IDEA has increased.

See also: National Council on Disability report “Broken Promises: The Underfunding of IDEA”

State-by-State IDEA Funding Gap

December 14th, 2019

President’s FY2020 Proposed Budget matches FY2019 Appropriations for Special Education

March 12th, 2019

The President’s budget proposal for FY2020 (Oct. 1, 2019-Sept. 30, 2020) released March 11, 2019 recommends a 10 percent reduction to overall funding for the U.S. Dept. of Education (ED), from $71 billion to $64 billion.

However, the ED budget proposal recommends holding funding for special education at the amounts appropriated by Congress in FY2019.

Specifically, the budget proposal requests:

  • $12,364.4 million for Grants to states
    (To help states pay the additional costs of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities aged 3 through 21 years. While the dollar amount holds level, the per-child amount goes from $1,770 to $1,758 due to an increase in the number of students (ages 3-21) being served under the IDEA, or about 13 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure (APPE). The IDEA authorizes an amount equal to 40 percent of the APPE, an amount known as “full funding”. See how much your state is losing.)
  • $391.1 million for Preschool Grants to states
    (An estimated $506 per child for the approximately 773,600 children with disabilities ages 3 through 5)
  • $470 million for Grants for Infants and Toddlers (to provide high-quality early intervention services to approximately 389,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.)
  • $225.6 million for National Activities (funds State Personnel Development, Technical Assistance & Dissemination, Personnel Preparation, Parent Information Centers, Educational Technology, Media, and Materials).
    Note: As in the previous year, the budget recommends the elimination of $17.6 million for Special Olympics, which Congress reinstated. This is one of 29 programs recommended for elimination.

The Dept. of Education FY2020 budget is available here.

Watch U.S. Dept. of Ed Secy Betsy DeVos testify in Congress on the proposed budget:

Most LEAs Found MOE Compliant

February 1st, 2019

February 2019

The U.S. Dept. of Education has released new data for states on a number of aspects of children with disabilities, as required by IDEA. The new data is available here.

New this year is a report on the number and percentage of Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) – commonly known to as school districts – that each state reviewed and found to be in compliance with IDEA’s MOE requirements. More about MOE is available here.

The data show all LEAs to be compliant in almost all states.

Download this table (PDF)

Source: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/static-tables/2016-2017/part-b/ceis-and-moe/1617-bmaintenancedistrict-6.xlsx

FY 2019 Appropriations Give Boost to IDEA Funding

September 14th, 2018

The U.S. Congress has finalized a bill to fund the Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments for Fiscal Year 2019 which begins October 1, 2018.

The bill provides $71.5 billion in funding for the Education Department. Of that, $13.4 billion (18 percent) is designated for IDEA.

IDEA funding breaks down as follows:

  • IDEA Grants to States: $12.4 billion (an increase of $86.5 million over FY18)
  • IDEA Preschool Grants: $391.1 million (an increase of $10 million over FY18)
  • Grants for Infants and Toddlers: $470.0 million (same as FY19)
  • National Activities: $215.2 million (an increase of $6 million, 2.5 million for Technical Assistance &Dissemination and an increase of $3.5 million for Personnel Preparation)

While an increase to IDEA funds for state grants is appreciated, it doesn’t come close to the authorized amount – aka “full funding” – that we reported on recently. View your state’s IDEA funding gap using this interactive map.

IDEA Funding Gains Little in Final FY 2017 Appropriations

May 1st, 2017

MAY 1, 2017

Federal funding for the IDEA gains little in the budget agreement reached by Congress in late April. The deal should be voted on in early May and will fund the federal government for the balance of FY 2017 (until October 1, 2017).

IDEA funds for Part B Sec. 611 (ages 3-21) goes from $11.9 billion in FY 2016 to $12.0 billion in FY 2017 – an increase of .7 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of students served under this program is increasing steadily – growing from 6,697,938 in 2014-2015 to 6,814,410 in 2015-2016, an increase of 1.7 percent. And keep in mind that IDEA allows local school districts to use up to 50 percent of any increase in IDEA funds to offset local spending, so students could see only half of the increase used for special education services.

IDEA funds for Part B Sec. 619 (ages 3-5) stays constant at $368.2 million.

IDEA funds for Part C (infants and families) also stays constant at $458.6 million. The children served under Part C increased from 350,581 in 2014-2015 to 357,715 in 2015-2016, an increase of 2 percent.

Add’t special education appropriations details are here.

Now we wait for the administration to release its budget request for FY 2018, due sometime in May. The “skinny” budget released in March indicated that IDEA funding would be maintained at its current rate, while the U.S. Dept. of Education faces a substantial overall decrease.

 

Report on local school districts found to have significant disproportionality :: 2012-2013

March 6th, 2016

This report focuses on local school districts (referred to as local educational agencies or LEAs) that have been found to have significant disproportionality in one or more categories of students receiving special education.

Disproportionality is the overrepresentation of minority or ethnic students in special education in the following categories:

  • Identification, including identification with a particular disability category (SLI, SLD, OHI, ID, AU, ED);
  • Placement in particular educational settings, or
  • Disciplinary actions (incidence, duration, and type), including suspension and expulsions.

If found to have significant disproportionality in one or more of the above categories, the local district must reserve 15 percent of its IDEA Part B federal funds for Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS).

Districts must use all of the CEIS funds and must devote most but not all of the CEIS funds to serve children in the over-identified category or categories. LEAs  required to use 15 percent of their IDEA Part B federal funds on CEIS due to significant disproportionality may not reduce their local expenditures by any amount.

This is a complete listing of the LEAs that were required to spend 15% of Part B funds in the 2012-2013 school year due to having significant disproportionality.

The report provides:

LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality during the referenced school year

– the category or categories of significant disproportionality;

– the amount of Part B funds reserved for Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS).

A RECAP OF LEAs FOUND TO HAVE SIGNIFICANT DISPROPORTIONALITY:

A total of 489 LEAs in 28 states were required to use 15% of Part B funds for CEIS due to significant disproportionality.  The reserved funds to be spent totaled $239.6 million.

The 28 states and the number of LEAs within each state are as follows:

AL (3), AZ (1), AR (3), CA (50), CT (2), DE (4), FL (5), GA (16), IL (2), IN (58), IA (8), KY (8), LA (77), MD (3), MI (22), MN (8), MS (17), NJ (12), NM (2), NY (78), NC (12) OH (56), RI (28), SC (1), VA (6), WI (6), WY (2).

The following 23 states had no LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality: AK, CO, HI, ID, KS, ME, MA, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, ND, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV.

See table below for additional details.

The number of LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality and required to use 15 percent of IDEA Part B funds on CEIS in 2012-2013 was substantially higher than in the previous year. In 2011-2012, 247 LEAs were identified as having significant disproportionality. Those LEAs were required to spend $107.2 million in IDEA Part B funds on CEIS.

The uneven pattern of LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality reflects the varied definitions states have been allowed to develop to identify significant disproportionality. This inconsistent methodology is addressed in the proposed new federal regulation published in the Federal Register on March 2, 2016 (Vol. 81, No. 41, pgs. 10968-10998). Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted on or before May 16, 2016.

An analysis accompanying the proposed rule, A Multi-Year Disproportionality Analysis by State, Analysis Category, and Race/Ethnicity, found that 8,148 LEAs would have a finding of significant disproportionality when the methodology (risk ration threshold, minimum cell size and occurrence over multiple years) used in the analysis was applied or 16 times the number identified in 2012-2013.

An example of the dramatic increase in LEAs identified with significant disproportionality using the methodology in the analysis is the state of Florida. Using its current methodology, Florida identified 2 LEAs for significant disproportionality in disciplinary removals while 26 LEAs would be identified using the methodology in the analysis – all for disciplinary removals of Black/African American students. Based on data collected by the Office for Civil Rights, Florida has the highest rate of out-of-school suspensions of students with disabilities in the country (see report here).

 Total LEAs and Number of LEAs identified with significant disproportionality

(This table is also included in the last page of the report.)

STATE Total LEAs # LEAs with disproportionality STATE Total LEAs # LEAs with disproportionality
AL 176 3 MT 422 0
AK 54 0 NC 250 12
AR 279 1 ND 184 0
AZ 685 1 NE 280 0
CA                1,052 50 NH 178 0
CO 245 0 NJ 691 12
CT 197 2 NM 150 2
DC 63 1 NV 19 0
DE 43 4 NY            1,008 78
FL 75 5 OH            1,100 56
GA 203 16 OK 550 0
HI 1 0 OR 208 0
IA 357 8 PA 738 0
ID 153 0 RI 57 28
IL 878 2 SC 109 1
IN 393 58 SD 156 0
KS 293 0 TN 142 0
KY 176 8 TX            1,256 0
LA 144 77 UT 132 0
MA 418 0 VA 151 6
MD 25 3 VT 339 0
ME 259 0 WA 305 0
MI 930 22 WI 456 6
MN 537 8 WV 57 0
MO 573 0 WY 61 2
MS 163 17 National 17,371 489

 

Congressman wants changes to IDEA MOE rules

July 27th, 2015

Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., has intro­duced the Building on Local District Flexibility in IDEA Act, H.R. 2965. The bill makes substantial changes to current maintenance of effort rules governing local educational agencies (or school districts).  Below is the text of the bill.

 

114th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2965

  To amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide 
 certain exceptions to the maintenance of effort requirement for local 
             educational agencies, and for other purposes.

_______________________________________________________________________

                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              July 8, 2015

Mr. Walberg (for himself, Mr. Moolenaar, Mr. Ribble, Mr. Benishek, and 
   Mr. Bishop of Michigan) introduced the following bill; which was 
        referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL

  To amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide 
 certain exceptions to the maintenance of effort requirement for local 
             educational agencies, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Building on Local District 
Flexibility in IDEA Act''.

SEC. 2. EXCEPTIONS TO THE MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT REQUIREMENT FOR LOCAL 
              EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES.

    Section 613(a)(2) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education 
Act (20 U.S.C. 1413(a)(2)) is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (A)(iii), by striking ``subparagraphs 
        (B) and (C)'' and inserting ``subparagraphs (B), (C), and 
        (E)'';
            (2) in subparagraph (B)--
                    (A) in clause (iii)(III), by striking ``or'' at the 
                end;
                    (B) in clause (iv), by striking the period at the 
                end and inserting a semicolon; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following:
                            ``(v) improved efficiencies that do not 
                        result in a reduction in special education 
                        services; or
                            ``(vi) the reduction of expenditures for 
                        employment related benefits provided to special 
                        education personnel (such as pay, retirement 
                        contributions, annual and sick leave, and 
                        health and life insurance) provided that such 
                        reduction of expenditures does not result in a 
                        reduction in special education services.''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(E) Waivers for exceptional or uncontrollable 
                circumstances.--The State educational agency may waive 
                the requirements of subparagraph (A)(iii) for a local 
                educational agency, for 1 fiscal year at a time, if--
                            ``(i) the State educational agency 
                        determines that the local educational agency 
                        has not reduced the level of expenditures for 
                        the education of children with disabilities for 
                        such fiscal year disproportionately to other 
                        expenditures; and
                            ``(ii)(I) the State educational agency 
                        determines that granting a waiver would be 
                        equitable due to exceptional or uncontrollable 
                        circumstances such as a natural disaster or a 
                        precipitous and unforeseen decline in the 
                        financial resources of the local educational 
                        agency; or
                            ``(II) the local educational agency 
                        provides clear and convincing evidence to the 
                        State educational agency that all children with 
                        disabilities have available to them a free 
                        appropriate public education and the State 
                        educational agency concurs with the evidence 
                        provided by the local educational agency.''.

MOE Rule Finalized, Finally

April 30th, 2015

Today, some 18 months after proposed, the U.S. Dept. of Education issued the final federal regulations amending Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) governing the requirement that local educational agencies maintain fiscal effort, or maintenance of effort (MOE). The new regulations are effective July 1, 2015.

The final MOE regulations provide clarification on the following:

  • the Subsequent Years rule,
  • the eligibility and compliance standards,
  • the four methods available to LEAs to meet the eligibility and compliance standards, and
  • the existing exceptions and adjustment in §§ 300.204 and 300.205.

Subsequent Years rule

This amendment expands the LEA (aka school district) eligibility standard by clearly establishing that if an LEA fails to meet its MOE requirement for any fiscal year, the level of funding required for any subsequent year (beginning or or after July 1, 2015) is the amount that would have been required in the absence of that failure – not the LEA’s reduced level of expenditures.

Now known as the “Subsequent Years Rule” (§300.203 (c)), this clarification codifies the OSEP April 2012 Letter to Boundy which challenged an earlier OSEP interpretation in its Letter to East. IDEA Money Watch supporters worked hard to bring about this reversal, including language in the federal Appropriations Acts of 2014 and 2015 pending new regulations. Now, with the release of these final regulations, this matter is put to rest.

The regulations include a number of tables to assist States and LEAs in establishing a thorough understanding of how an LEA may comply with the Subsequent Years rule.

Four methods available to LEAs to meet the eligibility and compliance standards 

The regulations now makes clear that the an LEA may meet the compliance standard using one of four methods and that SEAs must permit LEAs to do so. The four methods are:

(1) Local funds only, (2) the combination of State and local funds, (3) local funds only on a per capita basis, or (4) the combination of State and local funds on a per capita basis.

It is also established that an LEA may change methods to establish compliance from one year to the next. LEAs may meet the compliance standard using alternate methods from year to year. The regulations include a number of tables that provide examples of how an LEA may meet the compliance standard using alternate methods.

Existing exceptions and adjustment in §§ 300.204 and 300.205 

The regulations establish that LEAs may include any allowable MOE reductions (as laid out in §§ 300.204 and 300.205) that it is eligible to take preparing a budget for the upcoming year. It had previously been unclear if this was allowable.

 

Understanding Full Funding

March 12th, 2015

What, exactly, is “full funding” of IDEA?

The term is misleading, and, therefore, the funding “promise” made by Congress in IDEA is often misrepresented. It’s really pretty simple, however.

Back in 1975 when Congress enacted original special education law – then called the Education of All Handicapped Children Act and later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – Congress set a maximum target for the federal contribution to special education spending equal to 40 percent of the estimated excess cost of educating children with disabilities.

At the time, Congress estimated that educating children with disabilities would cost approximately twice as much as it costs to educate non-disabled children. So, Congress authorized a funding level equal to 40% of the excess cost of providing special education (not 100% as is often reported). The amount was set at 40% of the national average per pupil expenditure (APPE). (Note: One nationwide study showed that special education costs are 1.9 times that expended on general education students.)

So then, if IDEA were “fully funded,” the annual federal appropriation would be 40% of the national average per pupil expenditure – referred to as “APPE” – for elementary and secondary education adjusted by the number of children with disabilities served. 

To be clear, when the federal funds are sent off to local school districts around the country, that amount would not be 40% of the excess cost in every district – the percent would vary depending on how much each local district spends on education. The amount states and districts spend “per pupil” varies significantly across the nation. For example, in the 2016-2017 school year, the per pupil expenditure ranged from a high of $20,264 in Wyoming to a low of $8,599 in Idaho (see this chart for all states).

See also:

National Council on Disability, Broken Promises: The Underfunding of IDEA, 2018.

Congressional Research Service, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funding: A Primer, Updated October 1, 2018. R44624

SPECIAL REPORT: School District MOE Reductions, Determinations and CEIS Now Available

March 6th, 2015

Information on the reductions to maintenance of effort (MOE), determinations of IDEA compliance and use of IDEA Part B funds for Coordinated Early Intervening Services* for the 2011-2012 school year for every local educational agency (LEA) or school district was released to the public in February 2015.

States are required to report this information annually to the U.S. Dept. of Education as part of a larger data submission required under Section 618 of the IDEA. The data files are available from this website.

Using the data reported under Maintenance of Effort Reduction and Coordinated Early Intervening Services for 2011-2012, IDEA Money Watch has compiled three separate reports. (Information on how to access the data file appears at the end of this report.)

Report One: MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT (MOE) REDUCTIONS

This is a complete listing of the LEAs that reduced MOE in the 2011-2012 school year. Under certain conditions, LEAs are allowed to reduce the amount spent on special education by up to 50% of an increase in federal or state and federal funds from one year to the next. The freed-up funds must be used for activities authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The report provides:
– the LEA/ESA allocation amounts for IDEA Part B 611 (school age) and 619 (3-5 year olds) for the reference Federal fiscal year and the previous Federal fiscal year

– the LEA/ESA determination under 34 CFR § 300.600(a)(2)

– the Amount of the MOE Reduction the LEA/ESA took under Section 613(a)(2)(C) for the reference school year.

A RECAP OF MOE REDUCTIONS:

Across all states and territories, 304 LEAs took MOE reductions totaling $10.1 million. States with one or more LEAs taking an MOE reduction include:

AL (9), CA (25), IN (13), KY (13), LA (4), MA (15), MO (10), NE (50), NM (56), OH (8), OK (48), PA (35), TX (12), UT (3) and WI (3).

Not all of these LEAs were eligible to take a reduction in MOE. To be eligible to reduce MOE, an LEA must have:

received an increase in the Part B allocation between 2010 and 2011 AND
– received a “meets requirements” determination.

LEAs that took an MOE reduction and DID NOT have a “meets requirements” determination are highlighted in yellow on the listing. The vast majority of these LEA are in the state of New Mexico, where 24 LEAs reduced MOE unlawfully.

Some LEAs took an MOE reduction without the requisite increase in annual allocation, indicated by a (-) sign in the far right column on the listing. In Nebraska, 36 LEAs reduced MOE without having received an increase in funding.

Report Two: MANDATORY PROVISION OF COORDINATED EARLY INTERVENING SERVICES (CEIS)

This is a complete listing of the LEAs that were required to spend 15% of Part B funds in the 2011-2012 school year due to having significant disproportionality.  Disproportionality is the overrepresentation of minority or ethnic students in special education identification, placement, or disciplinary actions. In such cases, the local district must use all of the CEIS funds and must devote most but not all of the CEIS funds to serve children in the over identified group or groups. LEAs  required to use 15 percent of their IDEA Part B federal funds on CEIS due to significant disproportionality may not reduce their local expenditures by any amount.

The report provides:

LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality during the reference school year

– the amount required  to be reserved for Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS)(15 percent of Part B funds)

– the amount of Part B funds spent on Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS)

– the number of students who received CEIS during the reference school year and the number of children who received CEIS at any time during the reference school year and the two preceding school years and received special education and related services during the reference school year.

A RECAP OF MANDATORY CEIS USE:

A total of 347 LEAs were required to use 15% of Part B funds for CEIS due to significant disproportionality. These LEAs were in 25 states. The amount spent totaled $107.2 million. The states and number of LEAs within each state are as follows:

AK (1), AR (6), AZ (1), DC (5), DE (7), FL (11), GA (31), IA (7), IL (5), IN (1), KY (10), LA (104), MD (1), MI (36), MS (25), NC (3), NJ (12), NM (2), NY (36), OH (2), OR (1), RI (24), UT (1), VA (9), WI (5)

The following states had no LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality: AL, CA, CO, CT, HI, ID, KS, ME, MA, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, ND, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, WA, WV, WY.

The number of LEAs required to provide CEIS in 2011-2012 was very similar to the number required in the previous school year (2010-2011). In that year 356 LEAs were required to provide CEIS.

The uneven pattern of LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality is reflective of the varied definitions states have been allowed to develop. This issue was explored in great detail in a 2013 report from the Government Accountability Office entitled “IDEA: Standards Needed to Improve Identification of Racial and Ethnic Overrepresentation in Special Education.”  A new report from The Civil Rights Project, Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?, provides extensive data that underscores the need for federal oversight and the comments submitted by the Civil Rights Project in 2014 articulate specific recommendations.

Report Three: VOLUNTARY USE OF PART B FUNDS TO PROVIDE COORDINATED EARLY INTERVENING SERVICES (CEIS)

This is a complete listing of the LEAs that elected to voluntarily use up to 15% of their Part B funds in the 2011-2012 school year to provide Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS).

The report provides:

LEAs that voluntarily used Part B funds to provide CEIS during the reference school year

– the amount of Part B funds the LEA voluntarily spent on Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS)

– the percent of Part B funds the LEA voluntarily spent on Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS)(may not exceed 15 percent of Part B funds)

– the number of students who received CEIS during the reference school year.

A RECAP OF VOLUNTARY CEIS USE:

A total of 44 states and territories had LEAs that voluntarily used Part B funds for CEIS. Across these 1243 LEAs, the amount spent totaled $109.3 million. The amount an LEA may reduce its MOE (Report One) is reduced by any amount the LEA voluntarily uses for CEIS (not to exceed 15%).

The states and number of LEAs within each state that voluntarily used Part B funds for CEIS are as follows:

AL (3), AR (33), AZ (20), BIA (71), CA (11), CT (16), DE (3), FL (16), GA (5), HI (1), IA (12), IL (198), IN (18), KS (1), LA (21), ME (22), MI (19), MN (133), MS (46), MO (7), NE (34), NV (35), NH (10), NJ (8), NM (11), NY (30), NC (9), ND (8), OH (77), OK (18), OR (14), PA (10), RI (6), SC (31), SD (13), TN (7), TX (148), UT (16), VA (8), VI (1), VT (9), WA (8), WI (86), WY (24).

The number of LEAs voluntarily using Part B funds for CEIS in 2011-2012 is similar to the number in the previous year when 1265 LEAs provided CEIS voluntarily.

“““““““““““““““““`

*Coordinated Early Intervening Services are services provided to students in kindergarten through grade 12 (with a particular emphasis on students in kindergarten through grade three) who are not currently identified as needing special education or related services, but who need additional academic and behavioral supports to succeed in a general education environment. The IDEA (20 U.S.C. §1413(f)(2)) and its regulations (34 CFR §300.226(b)) identify the activities that may be included as: (1) professional development for teachers and other school staff to enable such personnel to deliver scientifically based academic and behavioral interventions, including scientifically based literacy instruction, and, where appropriate, instruction on the use of adaptive and instructional software; and (2) providing educational and behavioral evaluations, services, and supports, including scientifically based literacy instruction.

“““““““““““““““““`

To access the entire set of data, download this file. NOTE: To open this file in Excel, right click on the link, select “save link as” then select “all files” under save as. This should allow you to save the file to your computer and open in Excel.

Additional information about this data collection is available in this documentation (WORD).

 

House leaders request $1.5 billion increase for IDEA

April 30th, 2014

Washington, D.C.                                                                                  

Yesterday, April 29, 2014, Education Secretary Arne Duncan appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce to discuss the President’s FY 2015 Budget Request.  (See our earlier blog about the level of IDEA funding included in the President’s Budget.)

Duncan was peppered with questions regarding the persistent lack of funding for IDEA throughout the hearing. Following the hearing, Chairman Klein issued a press release stating that “Years ago the federal government pledged to provide critical support to special needs children, yet Republicans and Democrats alike have repeatedly failed to keep that promise. As I told Secretary Arne Duncan earlier today, parents and school leaders aren’t asking for new competitive grants or funding for duplicative early childhood programs – they’re begging for more support for the nation’s most vulnerable students. It’s time to reassess our priorities, and I am going to do everything in my power to advocate for a renewed federal commitment to children with disabilities.”

Klein and other Republican leaders issued a formal request for a $1.5 billion increase in IDEA Part B funding in the Fiscal Year 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, bringing the total funding to $13 billion.

The Committee also issued the chart below, detailing the IDEA funding gap in every state, with this explanation:

The assumption underlying the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its predecessor legislation is that, on average, the cost of educating children with disabilities is twice the average cost (measured as the national average per pupil expenditure or APPE) of educating other children. Congress determined that the federal government would pay up to 40 percent of this “excess” cost, which is referred to as full funding. Since 1981, the first year for which full funding was 40 percent of APPE, the federal share has remained less than half of the federal commitment based on regular appropriations. As a result, states and school districts are forced to absorb the additional costs not funded by the federal government to meet the needs to which these students are legally entitled. In 2014 alone this cost is almost $17.6 billion. 

IDEA funding gap by state 2014

Feds issue guidance on use of IDEA funds for technology

February 11th, 2014

February 5, 2014

The U.S. Dept. of Education has released a document providing examples of how funds from ESEA (Titles I, II, III) and IDEA may be used to support the use of technology to improve instruction and student outcomes. Full document available here.

Examples provided include:

Expand the Use of Technology in the Individualized Education Program Process
States may use IDEA Part B set-aside funds to support the use of technology to help reduce
paperwork and digitize the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process for families and teachers.

Use Technology to Communicate with Parents
States may use IDEA Part D State Professional Development Grants (SPDG) to enhance both special
education and general education teachers’ ability to effectively integrate technology to communicate
with parents of students with disabilities.

Provide Students with Assistive Technology Devices
States may use IDEA Part B funds set aside for State-level activities to support the use of assistive
technology devices that maximize accessibility to the general education curriculum for students with
disabilities.

Districts may use IDEA Part B funds to provide the specific assistive technology devices and services that are identified by the IEP team as needed by an individual student to receive free appropriate public education.

The document emphasizes that these “are just a few examples of allowable uses of grant program funds that may support the development, implementation, and expansion of technology-based approaches to help improve student achievement and educator effectiveness.”

New Mexico could lose more than $60M in special ed funding

February 1st, 2014

There’s a big mess brewing in the Land of Enchantment. And it could cost the state dearly in Federal funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

State auditor Hector Balderas, following a detailed audit of the NM Education Dept. (available here), directed the education dept. to provide details on why it failed to provide adequate state funding for special education in two consecutive years, in violation of the IDEA’s “maintenance of effort” or MOE requirements.

STATE MOE REQUIREMENTS
Under 34 CFR §300.163(a), “a State must not reduce the amount of State financial support for
special education and related services for children with disabilities, or otherwise made available
because of the excess costs of educating those children, below the amount of that support for the
preceding fiscal year.” If a State fails to maintain the required level of financial support for special education and related services, under 34 CFR §300.163(b); the Secretary of Education reduces the
allocation of funds under section 611 of the IDEA for any fiscal year following the fiscal year in
which the State fails to comply with the requirement of34 CFR §300.163(a) by the same amount
by which the State fails to meet the requirement. (Letter to states clarifying MOE)

IDEA authorizes very limited waivers to the State MOE requirement. The Secretary of Education may find that a waiver is equitable due to exceptional or uncontrollable circumstances such as a natural disaster (e.g., Hurricane Katrina) or precipitous and unforeseen decline in the financial resources of the state, or the State meets the exceptionally high standards for a waiver of the supplement not supplant requirement – i.e., an SEA can establish that a free appropriate public education is provided to all eligible children with disabilities in the State.  (This type of waiver has never been granted.) USED issued guidance on the process and criteria used to evaluate a request by states to waive maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements in 2009.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Balderas said his office wants to find out why the department didn’t comply and why it took so long to disclose what was happening.

The New Mexico Education Dept. requested a waiver (as allowed under IDEA) for two years – 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. In June 2013 the US Dept. of Ed informed New Mexico that it was granting the waiver for 2009-2010 but not for 2010-2011 hence the potential loss of funds.

According to a story in the Santa Fe New Mexico paper, New Mexico has appealed the denial of the waiver for 2010-2011. Lawyers from both sides will meet in Washington, D.C., on April 8 to lay out the legal groundwork.

Documents regarding New Mexico’s MOE waiver requests:

  • NM Waiver Request for 2010-2011
    PDF
  • NM Waiver Request for 2009-2010
    PDF
  • USED Response
    PDF
  • State Audit Report
    (PDF)

 

Advocate/Activist’s Call to Action!

November 13th, 2013

“Do you know what Sequestration is and what it is doing to your child’s right to a Free Appropriate Public Education?  It is imperative that you do. 

As an advocate considered to have advanced training, I say the following.  Lay, Education, Parent Advocates (we have many names) cannot advocate on a child by child basis without being an activist and fighting/lobbying to change the state and federal, rules, laws, policies, appropriations and attitudes that have continued to set the very lowest bar of expectations for our nation’s children with disabilities. We need to be in the thick of discussions at our state and federal level and as Ghandi so eloquently once said, ‘Be the change you want to see….’

So where am I going with my soapbox?  I am urging  each and every individual who believes in America, and what it once was, and what it must be, to use your voice, pen, email and person to put an end to ‘sequestration’, and before the second round of sequester cuts take effect in January 2014.  Sequestration, these slash and burn cuts across all federally funded programs is not the way to balance our budget or educate America’s children, EACH and EVERY ONE.

So hop on the the “Sequester Circuit.” Become a valued resource to education staff writers at your local and statewide newspapers, along with National Public Radio affiliates. Your voice, pen and presence matter.”

Marcie Lipsitt
Michigan Alliance for Special Education

Listen to Marcie’s interview on Michigan NPR

New Report on Impact of Sequestration

November 13th, 2013

Under sequestration, federal funding for discretionary programs – including both defense and nondefense (called nondefense discretionary or NDD) – will face more than $700 billion in cuts over the next eight years.

In two years, NDD spending will equal a smaller percentage of our economy than ever before – if lawmakers do not act to replace sequestration with a more meaningful and comprehensive deficit reduction strategy.

The Advocacy Institute – sponsor of IDEA Money Watch – has joined with thousands of organizations to form NDD United and to create a new report on the impact of sequestration across programs that rely on discretionary federal funding, including federal funds to support the provision of special education services as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The report,
Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure

is available at NDD United.

Now, here’s what YOU can do:

Contact your members of Congress (two Senators, one House member) and tell them to put an end to sequestration and avoid any cuts to federal funds for IDEA.

Use Contacting the Congress to locate the contact information for your members and send your messages.

Our nation’s 6 million students with disabilities are counting on you!

ED Proposes Amendments to IDEA MOE Rules

September 19th, 2013

U.S. Dept. of Education (USED)
Proposed amendments to IDEA Part B federal regulations
regarding local maintenance of effort

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Federal Register/Vo. 78, No. 181
September 18, 2013

Comments due on or before December 10, 2013
Submit comments via www.Regulations.gov
Docket ID ED-2012-OSERS-0020

Purpose: To clarify existing policy and make other related changes regarding:

  • The compliance standard;
  • the eligibility standard;
  • the level of effort required of a local educational agency (LEA) in the year after it fails to maintain effort under the IDEA;
  • the consequence for a failure to maintain local effort.

Comments sought regarding:

  • Whether States and LEAs or other interested parties think these proposed amendments will be helpful in increasing understanding of, and ensuring compliance with, the current local maintenance of effort requirements.
  • The specific problems States and LEAs are experiencing in implementing the maintenance of effort requirements.

In proposing these amendments, USED reports that it has identified a number of problems with State administration of the LEA MOE requirements under current IDEA regulations. Specifically, USED has found that at least 40 percent of States have policies and procedures that are not consistent with how States should determine eligibility or compliance. These State polices could be either more restrictive or more lenient than current regulation.

Summary of proposed amendments:

  1. Expands the compliance standard by adding an LEA MOE requirement that States must apply when determining whether an LEA is eligible for Part B funds each year.Specifically, an LEA must budget at least the same total or per capita amount of local, or State and local, fund as it spent during the most recent prior year.Or, if using only local funds, an LEA must meet in total or per capita the same level of local funds for the most recent fiscal year for which the LEA met its MOE based on local funds only.Clarifies that Federal funds may not be considered in determining whether an LEA meets the standard.(Note: As explained in The Basics on maintenance of effort, LEAs may reduce level of expenditures under certain circumstances. The extra funds paid to LEAs via the Recovery Act allowed for a reduction in local funds under certain circumstances. State and LEA level reductions taken are available here.)
  2. Expands the eligibility standard by clearly establishing that if an LEA fails to meet its MOE requirement for any fiscal year, the level of funding required for any subsequent year (beginning or or after July 1, 2014) is the amount that would have been required in the absence of that failure – not the LEA’s reduced level of expenditures. (As stated in Letter to Boundy)
  3. Expands the consequences of failure to maintain effort by clearing establishing that if an LEA fails to maintain its level of expenditures in accordance with the compliance standard, the State is liable to return (using non-Federal funds) to the U.S. Dept. of Education an amount equal to the amount by which the LEA failed to maintain its level. (In such circumstances, the State may, in turn, seek to recoup the funds from the LEA.)

TAKE ACTION:

thumbs upIDEA Money Watch supports these proposed regulations. You are urged to submit comments in support of the proposal via Regulations.gov by Dec. 10, 2013.

Here’s how: Go to the docket on Regulations.gov. Click on the blue “Comment Now!” button in the upper right of the page. Fill in your comments (paste the suggested comments below/add more/compile your own), fill in additional information requested, click “Continue,” preview your comment then submit.

Suggested comments for submission to Regulations.gov:

“I support the proposed amendments to IDEA Part B federal regulations regarding local maintenance of effort. As proposed, these amendments will provide several important clarifications to current regulations and will serve to ensure improved compliance with federal requirements. Additionally, these amendments will provide important clarification to situations not currently addressed in regulation, avoiding future misinterpretations.”

More extensive comments are available here.

A comparison of current regulation and these proposed regulations is available here.

 

 

IDEA Sequester Reductions :: State-by-State

February 28th, 2013

IDEA sequestration cuts

Source: State-by-State IDEA Impact retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/sequestration-would-hurt-students-teachers-and-schools/

Senate Appropriations Committee gives IDEA funding a boost; reinforces MOE requirement

June 14th, 2012

The Labor, HHS, Education Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted Tuesday, June 12, 2012, to provide additional funding for the IDEA and other programs that go to assisting children with disabilities.

The bill was approved by the full Appropriations Committee on June 14, 2012.

Thumbs UpThe Labor, HHS, Education appropriations bill also includes “new language clarifying that the level of effort under part B that an LEA must meet in the year after it fails to maintain its fiscal effort is the level that it should have met in the prior year. This language clarifies congressional intent and is consistent with OSEP’s April 4, 2012, informal guidance letter on the issue.”  (Page 179 of bill text)

A summary of the increases proposed in the bill is below.

Education for Individuals With Disabilities (IDEA).—The bill provides $11.678 billion, an increase of $100 million, under section 611 of part B grants to States for educating students with disabilities between the age of 3 and 21.

The bill also includes $463 million, an increase of $20 million, to support statewide systems of coordinated and early intervention services for children with disabilities two years old and younger, as well as their families. (Part C of IDEA)

Promoting School Readiness for Minors in SSI (PROMISE).—In fiscal year 2012, Congress created PROMISE, an interagency effort to improve outcomes for children, and the families of children, receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. This program will encourage State-level innovations that can help young people with disabilities enter and succeed in competitive, integrated employment. The bill includes nearly $12 million and the authority to allocate unspent vocational rehabilitation State grant funds within the Department of Education for this effort, in addition to $7.2 million at SSA.NCSER funding

Special Education Research.—The bill includes $59.9 million, an increase of $10 million, to support research on how children and adults with disabilities learn and how best to meet their learning needs. (This increase restores half of the cut made to Special Education Research (NCSER) in 2011 – see chart at right.)

Assistive Technology.—The bill provides $37.5 million, an increase of $4.7 million, for State assistive technology programs. These programs support a range of activities to serve people with disabilities, including State financing programs, device reutilization and loan programs, and device demonstrations.

More:

Bill summary: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=3c7490eb-8227-4152-84ea-2d65b683accf

Bill text: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-112srpt176/pdf/CRPT-112srpt176.pdf