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E.D. Report Questions Special-Education Data

The Education Department's inspector general has suggested changing the way federal special-education funding is distributed.

The report contends that the current formula is based on unreliable state estimates of the number of children served in special-education programs. It urges a formula based on each state's total number of children ages 3 to 21, weighted to benefit areas with high poverty rates.

Judith E. Heumann, the assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services, said in a written response that the i.g. proposal merited further study. The department is expected to offer its proposal for reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act early next year.

Free copies of "e.d. Can Allocate Special Education Funds More Equitably" are available from the Regional Office of Inspector General, 50 United Nations Plaza, Room 105, San Francisco, Calif. 94102.

Simplifying Buying: The federal government is proposing to increase the amount of federal money state and local governments can spend without using complicated federal purchasing procedures.

In the Oct. 25 Federal Register, several government agencies, including the Education Department, published proposed regulations that would increase the small-purchase threshold for federal grantees from $25,000 to $100,000. Comments on the notice are due by Dec. 27.

Loan Defaults: About 200 postsecondary institutions have been cut from the Family Education Loan program as a result of their students' high default rates.

The Education Department notified the schools last week that they had been terminated from the program because their students sustained loan-default rates of 25 percent or higher for three years in a row.

Another 247 institutions with high default rates have appeals of their termination pending.

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