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Department of Education Changes Maintenance of Effort Regulations Governing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) provides special education funding to local educational agencies.  But, in order for agencies to receive IDEA funding, they must demonstrate that the funds merely supplement – as opposed to supplant – agency expenditures on special education.

To ensure that IDEA funds are only supplementary, agencies must annually show that local special education expenditures have not decreased from the previous year.  This is referred to as IDEA’s “maintenance of effort” (“MOE”) requirement.  However, existing regulations contain a loophole of sorts – if an agency’s local special education expenditures decreased one year, that lower total formed the expenditure baseline for the following year.

On July 1, 2015, this loophole will be closed.  New regulations will require that agencies spend as much on special education as they did in the last compliant year.  The new regulations will also clarify the funding source used to demonstrate an agencies maintenance of effort.

This post is not intended as legal advice.  If you would like to discuss the effect that these new regulations may have on your district, please contact our office.

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