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State officials in Virginia have filed for an injunction aimed at forcing the U.S. Education Department to release more than $50 million in special-education funds it has been withholding from the state.

After first approving the state's special-education plan, the department's office of special-education programs last December asked state officials to add a provision that would disallow the suspension or expulsion of special-education students for misconduct, regardless of whether the misconduct came as a result of the students' disabilities. (See Education Week, March 9, 1994.)

The state refused, and OSEP began holding back funding.

The request for an injunction, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, seeks to secure the release of the special-education funds while the state continues a formal appeal to the Education Department.

The state maintains that "neither federal statutes, regulations, nor case law support OSEP's requirement.''

State Superintendent of Public Instruction William C. Bosher Jr. called the federal agency's continued withholding of funds a "travesty and abuse of power'' that "harms the very children intended to be served.''

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