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Section 3

ak dept education

special ed handbook
SECTION 3
FEDERAL SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING

Excess Cost and Maintenance of Effort

A district may use federal funds only for the excess costs of providing special education and related services for children with disabilities. The excess cost requirement means that the District must spend a certain minimum amount for the education of its students with disabilities before federal funds are used. This ensures that children served with federal funds have at least the same average amount spent on them, from sources other than federal funds, as do the students in the school district taken as a whole. If a district can show that it has (on the average) spent the minimum amount for the education of each of its children with disabilities, it has met the excess cost requirement.

A district must use federal funds to supplement and, to the extent practicable, increase the level of state and local funds expended for the education of children with disabilities, but in no case to supplant those state and local funds.

Each district that receives Part B and Section 619 funds must spend, in any particular fiscal year, on either an aggregate or per capita basis, the same amount of state and local funds on special education as it did in the previous fiscal year. There are four allowances given for reduced spending for special education:
  1. The voluntary departure, by retirement or otherwise, or departure for just cause, of special education personnel, who are replaced by qualified, lower-salaried staff. The District must ensure that those voluntary retirements or resignations and replacements are in full conformity with:
    1. Existing district school board policies;
    2. The applicable collective bargaining agreement in effect at that time; and
    3. Applicable state statutes.
  2. A decrease in the enrollment of children with disabilities.
  3. The termination of the obligation of the agency to provide a program of special education to a particular child with a disability that is in an exceptionally costly program, as determined by the State educational agency, because the child:
    1. Has left the jurisdiction of the agency,
    2. Has reached the age at which the obligation to provide FAPE to the student has terminated, or
    3. No longer needs a special education program.
  4. The termination of costly expenditures for long-term purchases, such as the acquisition of equipment.
In complying with use of funds requirements, including supplement, not supplant and maintenance of effort, a State may not use funds paid to it under this part to satisfy State-law mandated funding obligations to LEAs, including funding based on student attendance or enrollment, or inflation.

Consolidated Applications

Districts that submit a Consolidated Application, as members of a consortium, must base the non-supplanting requirement on the total expenditures of the consortium. Consequently, as long as the consortium as a whole meets the non-supplanting requirement, the status of each individual member, in terms of whether it meets the requirement, does not affect the consortium's eligibility for receiving Part B funds. However, all consortium members have a joint responsibility to ensure that the consortium meets the non-supplanting requirement in order to receive Part B funds.

The Department will review and compare a particular fiscal year's school district financial audit to the previous year's financial audit. The Department will also compile a list of consortium members and compare the financial audits as a whole. If the comparison of the financial audits suggests that a school district may be out of compliance, the Department will contact the school district for additional information and resolution. If the school district or consortium fails to meet the non-supplanting requirement, they will not receive their Title VI-B funds for that year.

Comparable Services

A district may not use federal funds to provide services to children with disabilities unless the District uses state and local funds to provide services to those children that, taken as a whole, are at least comparable to services provided to other children with disabilities in the District.

Adjustment to Local Fiscal Effort

The District may reduce the amount of local fiscal effort by not more than 50% of any increase in the amount of its Federal allocation as long as the District uses an equal amount of local funds to carry out activities authorized by ESEA. The State is required to prohibit Districts from using this authority if the District is unable to establish and maintain programs of FAPE or if the District is the subject of a State enforcement action. IDEA funds used for early intervention services count toward the total fiscal effort that a District may reduce.

Permissive Use of Funds

A district may use federal funds to carry out a school-wide program under section 1114 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, except that the amount so used in any such program may not exceed the amount received by the District under Part B for that fiscal year divided by the number of children with disabilities in the jurisdiction of the District; and multiplied by the number of children with disabilities participating in the school-wide program.

Federal funds may be used for the costs of special education and related services and supplementary aids and services and supplementary aids and services provided in the regular class or other education-related setting to a child with a disability in accordance with the IEP, even if one or more non-disabled children benefit from such services.

Funds provided to the LEA may have additional uses without regard to excess costs and commingling requirements for early intervening services and to establish and implement cost or risk-sharing funds, consortia or cooperatives for the LEA or groups of the LEAs to pay for high-cost special education and related services. LEAs can use funds to purchase technology for record keeping, data collection and related case-management activities of teachers and related services personnel as needed for case management of IEP services.

Application for Federal Funds

Federal special education funds are provided to districts through two programs:
  1. Part VI-B for children with disabilities ages 6 through 21; and
  2. Section 619 - for preschool children with disabilities ages 3 through 5.
To qualify for these funds, a district must annually submit to the Department an application that describes the policies, procedures, assurances and goals for providing special education services and related services in compliance with state and federal requirements. The Alaska Special Education Handbook may be adopted by a district to satisfy these requirements. In order to streamline the application process, it is recommended that districts adopt the Handbook with all future revisions. A district may develop its own policies, procedures, assurances, and goals and submit them for Departmental approval. Forms that differ from those provided in the Appendices of the Alaska Special Education Handbook must be submitted for departmental approval.

The following are the procedures for applying for federal special education funds:
  1. Complete an application provided by the Department. An application must be completed for each program for which the District is applying for funding. Applications are due by April 15th each year and must include the following:
    1. A budget page that breaks out anticipated expenditures by budget category utilizing the 2000 Edition of the Alaska Department of Education Uniform Chart of Accounts for School Districts.
    2. A budget narrative. This requirement applies even if budget items do not differ from the previous year's application. If the new budget item is for personnel, a copy of the job description for the position being funded must be provided.
    3. A copy of any contract that will be paid with VI-B or Section 619 funds that exceeds $5,000 in value.
    4. Statement of Assurances with an original signature for Title VI-B and Section 619 applications.

  2. Provide the Department with the following information, if there is a private school in the District:
    1. A description of how the District will meet federal requirements for participation of children enrolled in private schools.
    2. The number of children enrolled in private preschools that have been identified as eligible for special education as disabled.
    3. The number of children with disabilities enrolled in private schools that will receive benefits.

  3. The basis used to select the children.
    1. The manner and extent to which the District consulted with appropriate representatives of children enrolled in private schools during all phases of the development and design of the program, including:
      • How the child's needs will be identified.
      • What benefits will be provided.
      • How the project will be evaluated.
The District must consult with appropriate representatives of private schools before making any decision that affects the opportunities of children to participate in the program. The District shall give the appropriate representatives a genuine opportunity to express their views regarding each matter subject to the consultation requirements.

The places and times that the children will receive benefits under this program

Districts are required to use the Online Alaska Student Information System (OASIS) to report student data. Average Daily Membership determinations are now calculated using the OASIS data collection. December 1st enrollment counts are no longer required since OASIS data must be reported for the October count date. Districts must also submit the following information to the Department:
  1. Information on children with disabilities exiting from special education (formerly referred to as Table 4), due July 15.
  2. Information on children with disabilities suspended or expelled for drug or weapon offenses (formerly referred to as Table 5), due July 15.
  3. A quarterly financial report within 30 days after the end of each quarter, and a summary of activities report 30 days after the close of any activity for which financial aid is provided.
For more information and access to the applications, see Appendix A of this handbook. Forms and instructions are also located on the Department’s website: http://www.eed.state.ak.us/forms/home.cfm

Review of Applications

Departmental procedures for reviewing local applications and significant local application amendments include the following:
  1. Applications and significant local application amendments will be reviewed by the Department. The application must meet all of the federal requirements of a local education application and be in compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations. In addition the District must have completed all corrective actions from any recent compliance monitoring visit before a new application will be approved.
  2. The Department will notify a district of the action taken on its application. Approval by the Department must be received before commencement of activities.
  3. If a district's application for federal funds does not meet all the requirements for approval, the Department will provide the District with notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the application is disapproved. The District will have 30 days to request a hearing.
The Department may request additional information when there are:
  1. amendments to the IDEA 2004 or Federal regulations
  2. new interpretations of either the IDEA 2004 or its regulations by Federal or State courts
  3. an official finding of noncompliance with Federal or State law or regulations.
In these instances, the Department may require the District to modify its application only to the extent necessary to ensure the District's compliance.

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