New Jersey is among a growing number of states that are asking the US Dept. of Education for a waiver allowing them to reduce the amount of state financial support provided to local districts for special education. As we reported in our Balance Sheet blog, Show Us the Waivers!, states are required to maintain the same level of state support for special education from one year to the next unless granted a waiver to reduce that amount, as provided by the IDEA.
In its September 29, 2010 letter, New Jersey claims that it has a $2 billion deficit in FY10, forcing a reduction in state support of education including a $52 million reduction in special education support. According to the request, the special education reduction is less – 4.2% – than the reduction in overall state aid to school districts (6.2%).
As required by IDEA, if a state receives a waiver, the state must return to the prior year’s level of state support the following year or face a reduction in federal funds (unless a new waiver is requested and granted.)
The U.S. Dept. of Education is providing all documents relating to state requests for MOE waivers at this webpage.