Thursday, August 25, 2016

Breaking: Feds Settle Suit Against South Carolina Department of Education re IDEA Funding #IDEA$

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the South Carolina Department of Education, settling the litigation involving the Department’s claim of South Carolina’s failure to maintain state financial support for special education and related services. This settlement will bolster the Department’s commitment to ensure compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, maintain funding levels in South Carolina, and direct additional funds toward improving results for children with disabilities.
The federal Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued a proposed determination that South Carolina had a shortfall in fiscal support for special education and related services for state fiscal year 2010 of $51,336,578 and also noted potential shortfalls in fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013. SCDE requested a hearing regarding that proposed determination, and the issue was not resolved until this settlement.
Under IDEA's maintenance of effort provision, a state must make available at least the same amount of financial support for special education and related services for children with disabilities each year as it did in the prior year. The consequence for failing to maintain financial support is a mandatory reduction in a future year’s IDEA allocation by the amount of the shortfall.
Some provisions of the agreement include the following:
  • The Department has agreed not to reduce SCDE’s IDEA grant in any future year based on failure to maintain financial support in state fiscal years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
  • In return, SCDE has agreed to appropriate additional state funds, above the amount required to maintain financial support under the IDEA, for special education and related services in the amount of $51,336,578.
  • These funds will be used by SCDE and its local educational agencies to implement programs and initiatives focusing on increasing reading proficiency for children with disabilities.
  • The funds will be appropriated over a period of not more than three years, and must be expended within four years.
  • The additional state funds will not count in calculations used to determine how much the state must make available to meet the maintenance of financial support requirement in subsequent years.
You may review the entire settlement agreement here.

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