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.