July 17th, 2011
IDEA Money Watch has obtained the information submitted by the South Carolina Dept. of Education to the U.S. Dept. of Education regarding reduction to local spending (maintenance of effort or MOE) and use of federal IDEA funds for Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) for each school district for the 2009 fiscal year. Get South Carolina information here. (PDF, 15 pgs).
This information is important because it indicates if school districts reduced local spending in light of IDEA Recovery Act funds in FY 2009. IDEA does not require that local districts replace these funds when the Recovery funds run out, putting services for students with disabilities at risk.
June 24th, 2011
In a letter dated June 17, 2011, the U.S. Dept. of Education (ED) informed the South Carolina Dept. of Education that it would not grant a waiver for a reduction in state financial aid to local districts for the 2010 and 2011 school years. ED did grant a waiver for the 2009 school year.
South Carolina must now restore the amount of state aid — If the state doesn’t allocate appropriate funds,
OSEP may withhold $75 million in special ed funds it should have spent this year as well as an extra $36 million it should have spent in FY 2010 — for a total of $111 million. The response letter is here.
IDEA Money Watch comments: We are pleased to see this response from OSEP! As OSEP announced its “Process and Criteria Used to Evaluate a Request by States to Waive Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Requirements under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)“ among the criteria for deciding on waiver requests is:
“The state’s compliance and performance record in implementing Part B of IDEA—the nature and length of any noncompliance, data in its state Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report, including data on performance and compliance indicators, the state’s determination under Section 616 of IDEA, whether there are outstanding findings of noncompliance, whether corrective actions are underway, and whether the department has placed special conditions on the state’s Part B grant award.”
South Carolina has received four consecutive “Needs Assistance” ratings from US ED on its implementation of IDEA as measured by its State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report (All APR reports and OSEP responses are available here.). States that fail to comply with the most basic requirements of IDEA should not be granted waivers for MOE reductions.
For more information on SC’s performance see the Special Education Scorecard provided by the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
October 8th, 2010
According to spending reports released by the U.S. Dept. of Education, South Carolina has obligated 43% of its IDEA Part B Recovery funds, or $74,203,198 as of September 30, 2010. The national average is 50%. Spending details by local school district are available at EdMoney.org.
Latest state-by-state spending reports are always available here. All IDEA Recovery Act funds must be obligated by September 30, 2011.
September 18th, 2010
According to the August 27, 2010 spending report issued by the US Dept. of Education, xxx has obligated $58,086,326 of its IDEA Part B Recovery Act funds – or 34%. Information on spending by school district is available at EdMoney.org
The national average rate of obligation is 46%. The latest state-by-state spending report is always available here.
All funds must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2011.
September 18th, 2010
From the GAO report, States Could Provide More Information on Education Programs to Enhance the Public’s Understanding of Fund Use, released July, 2010, the following information was collected via a GAO survey between March and April 2010 and through follow-up communications:
Greenville County Schools
Greenville, SC 29602
Award amount: $8,466,248
Greenville County Schools reported that it used its Recovery Act IDEA award to maintain the same level of Special Education Service delivery and support for Special Education students within the School District of Greenville County. These funds supported all preschool, elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as a number of special centers in the district (98 locations total) and served 10,251 students as of December 1, 2009. Specifically, the funds were used to retain personnel, as well as provide instructional and contract services, and purchase instructional materials and equipment. They also provided in-county travel mileage for staff members. As a result of these IDEA funds, officials reported that the district was able to save approximately 100 jobs, many of which were classroom positions. They also said that these funds resulted in maintaining classroom sizes to prevent compromising Special Education Services. Officials indicated that their Recovery Act IDEA award activities were less than 50 percent completed.
June 1st, 2010
The South Carolina Dept. of Education has submitted a request to the U.S. Dept. of Education for a waiver allowing a reduction in state aid to the state’s local school districts in support of the excess costs of special education.
The request and correspondence with USED is available here.
South Carolina has received three consecutive “Needs Assistance” ratings from the U.S. Dept. of Education for its implementation of IDEA (the state just got its 4th “needs assistance” rating in June 2010). Only 18% of the state’s students with disabilities are proficient in reading and math. More information here.
May 26th, 2010
Charleston County School District plans to make energy efficiency improvements with stimulus aid, according to WCBD, News 2 in Charleston. Occupancy sensors will be installed in many classrooms, and improvements will also be made to heating and air conditioning units to make them more efficient. It is believed that such improvements will reduce the district’s large energy cost burden.
For the full report Click Here.
May 29th, 2009
GREENVILLE — Thursday, May 28, 2009
“South Carolina Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said Thursday that he will ask the United States Department of Education for an exception in mid-June if courts do not rule by then on lawsuits involving stimulus money… South Carolina is slated to receive more than $25 billion in Title 1 and other special education funds through the federal stimulus package. This money is apart from the $700 million at the center of the court battle.” Full story here.
IDEAmoneywatch RESPONDS: Seems to us that $700 million is hardly worth arguing over! Meanwhile, the article reports that IDEA funds are “being put in school district budgets to help save jobs in Title One and IDEA programs.” Of course, IDEA funds can’t be used to save Title I jobs, and shouldn’t be used to save special education jobs that were previously paid with local funds – that’s called “supplanting” … Maybe the story has the details confused, or maybe not…
May 3rd, 2009
Here’s a tragic story from a local South Carolina paper … one that most certainly is repeated a thousand times across the state and the country ….
And here is a look at Charleston County school district’s performance:
The district has failed to achieve adequate yearly progress as required by NCLB for four consecutive years.
According to the 2008 District Report Card:
- 60% of students with IEPs are below basic in READING (only 15% are proficient or advanced vs. a state objective of 46%
- 57% of students with IEPs are below basic in MATH (only 15% are proficient or advanced vs. a state objective of 43%)
- Yet only 5.6% of classes are not taught by “highly qualified” teachers (seems hard to believe!)
- The district received a growth rating in 2008 of EXCELLENT because of substantial improvement in the achievement of students belonging to historically underachieving groups of students.
According to the latest Annual Performance Report data (2005-2006, the latest available special education data!)
- Just 32% of students with IEPs earn a regular high school diploma
Charleston County is the second largest district in the state. The district will receive approximately $12,592,000 in IDEA Part B funds from the Recovery Act.
April 9th, 2009
South Carolina will receive $173,239,745 to improve services to its 93,259 students with disabilities.
We’ll be reporting on how South Carolina’s local school districts are using these funds.
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