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:
- 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.)
- 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)
- 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.)
IDEA 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.”