Excerpt from: Disability Scoop (click for full article)
A small change tucked inside a government spending bill this month may have big implications for special education.
Lawmakers included language clarifying the penalties that states may face if they fail to adequately fund education programs for students with disabilities. The issue has become significant in recent years as states struggled financially in the recession and some sought to cut education spending.
Under federal law, special education funding must be maintained or increased from one year to the next. If states fail to meet what’s known as “maintenance of effort” without obtaining a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education, they can lose out on future federal dollars.
At least two states — South Carolina and Kansas — got into trouble in recent years for slashing their special education budgets without federal approval. As a result, they faced permanent reductions in their allocations from the Department of Education.