What’s Fueling the Redirection of Special Education Funds

Source: Jennifer Cohen, New America Foundation, Ed Money Watch Blog, January 12, 2009

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article highlighting the large number of school districts that will opt to take advantage of an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provision that allows them to reduce state and local special education spending when their federal funding under the law has increased from the year before. This provision is particularly relevant in 2010 because supplemental IDEA funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has dramatically increased the funding each district will receive. The article, unfortunately, does not fully discuss why so many districts are suddenly able to utilize this provision. It turns out that many states, in an attempt to make more districts eligible for the funding reduction provision, loosened the requirements districts must meet to qualify.

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