June 13, 2010

Unified gets $287,237 for severely disabled students

Racine Unified will receive $287,237 from the state for services provided to students with severe disabilities. The total being distributed statewide is $5.4 million, 49% of the districts' actual costs, which are estimated at $30,000 per student.

A press release from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction gives the details. A full list of how much each district will receive is here.
A mix of state and federal discretionary funding totaling $5.4 million is being sent to 155 local education agencies for services they provided to students with severe or multiple disabilities.
High-Cost Special Education Aid will go to 151 school districts, two cooperative educational service agencies (CESAs), and two county children with disabilities education boards (CCDEBs) for services to 1,008 special education students whose educational costs exceed $30,000 per student. Though $5.4 million is available for aid, approved claims for the High-Cost Special Education Aid program totaled $11.1 million for costs incurred during the 2008-09 school year. Aid payments will be prorated at 49 percent of costs.
“Every child with a disability is entitled to a free appropriate public education,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “The expenses for services to students who have severe or multiple disabilities are significant funding issues that challenge local school district budgets. This aid from the state of Wisconsin and federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) discretionary funding provides an offset for local special education costs.”
Eligible costs under the High-Cost Special Education Aid program include all costs (except administration or leadership) for direct services for a student with high-cost special education needs in the 2008-09 school year. Reimbursement from IDEA flow-through funds, Medicaid, and state special education categorical aid is deducted first. After those deductions, High-Cost Special Education Aid is calculated at 90 percent of the amount by which the total cost of providing education and related services to an individual child exceeded $30,000.
High-Cost Special Education Aid started in 2003 when then State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster used federal IDEA funding to establish the program. State funding to provide aid for high-cost special education students was first available in 2007 and has continued to be supplemented with IDEA discretionary dollars.