Special Education Stimulus Spending

Last year's stimulus legislation (American Recovery and Recovery Act of 2009, a/k/a "ARRA") provides a one-time boost (to be spent for the 2009-10 and 2010-2011 school years) in federal funding for students with disabilities in elementary and secondary schools under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act), Part B.

According to the State of Wisconsin's stimulus tracker web site, IDEA Special Education Grants to the states under ARRA totaled $11.3 billion (for context, "regular" IDEA Part B appropriations were $11.51 billion in 2009 and in 2010, according to the New America Foundation's 2010 Education Appropriations Guide). Wisconsin has received ARRA IDEA Part B funding of $208.2 million, with $6.199 million to the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Madison's plans for special education stimulus funds (summarized from the district's ARRA funding report to the Board of Education):

Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction's FAQ page on special education stimulus funding includes the following guidance [the acronym "LEA" below means "local educational agency," i.e. school district]:
B3. How should the IDEA Recovery funds be used?
These funds should be spent in ways likely to improve results for students, produce long-term gains in LEA capacity and effectiveness, accelerate reform, and foster continuous improvement. LEAs are cautioned to invest one-time IDEA Recovery funds thoughtfully to minimize what the federal government is calling the “funding cliff.” The funds should be invested in ways that do not result in unsustainable continuing commitments after the funding expires. Suggested strategies for using IDEA Recovery funds in conjunction with other funding sources to accomplish ARRA’s goals may be found at http://dpi.wi.gov/recovery/pdf/uses-strategies2009-05-05.pdf.
How are your state and school district using their special education stimulus funds?

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