The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the federal government should not have reduced its special education funding to South Carolina before allowing an appeal, and that the state should get its money back until U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan makes a final decision.
The decision by the court, which heard the case last month in Lexington, Va., came nearly two years after the federal agency said it would reduce the state’s allotment for special education because of the state legislature’s budget cuts.
The penalty involves the state’s failure to meet “maintenance of effort” rules during the recent economic crisis. Federal law bars states from spending less money on special education from one year to the next. If they do spend less, their federal allotment is cut by a corresponding amount.
The $36 million punishment is what’s left of an initial threat two years ago to cut $112 million.
A version of this article appeared in the May 08, 2013 edition of Education Week as Court Sides With S.C. on Special Ed. Funding