Feds Loosen Rules on Cutting Special Ed. Spending
Advocates fear an erosion of students' protection
New guidance from the U.S. Department of Education has put another chink in the once-solid armor protecting special education spending.
In the past, federal law was interpreted to mean that once a district set its special education budget, it could not be reduced permanently except for very specific reasons. The so-called maintenance-of-effort provision was built into special education spending rules to buffer students with disabilities from changes in services triggered by the ups and downs of public spending and politics.
One of the few exceptions to the maintenance-of-effort rule is when a district experiences an actual decrease in expenses, such as when an experienced, highly paid special education teacher retires or a high-needs student leaves a district. Cutting the special education budget for almost any other reason meant a district was running the risk of losing its...
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