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Updates Regarding IDEA Funds, School Reopening, and Video Messages

Friday, June 12, 2020


Dear District Administrator,

Please see the information below for updates on Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) funds and school reopening. Video messages from State Superintendent Stanford Taylor are also provided for you to view and share.

Waiver Requested for IDEA Funds

Under section 3511(b)(1)(B) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Pub. L. No. 116-136 (March 27, 2020), the Secretary of Education is authorized to consider waivers to extend the period of availability for certain federal funds. Yesterday, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) submitted a waiver request to allow DPI and local educational agencies in Wisconsin to use federal fiscal year 2018 IDEA Part B grant award funds for an additional year. If approved, fiscal year 2018 IDEA Part B grant award funds will be available for obligation through September 30, 2021, and may be liquidated through December 30, 2021.

DPI Update on Reopening Guidance

DPI anticipates releasing guidance around returning to school on June 22. The focus of this guidance is to provide considerations for district and school leaders to plan and implement a safe, efficient, and equitable return to school. DPI expects schools to reopen in the fall, but the department also expects changes to school operations to address risk factors to control the spread of COVID-19, the educational needs of students who are not able to return to school due to health concerns, and changing conditions due to the pandemic. It is likely that school districts will need to provide access to remote learning throughout the year to some students in addition to the regular school operation. As a result, DPI’s guidance will reflect considerations for both returning to school and once school is underway to help inform your decisions.

In developing this guidance, DPI worked with the Department of Health Services (DHS) and education stakeholders including the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services, Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials, Wisconsin School Boards Association, Wisconsin Education Association Council, and the Cooperative Educational Service Agency Statewide Network.

Videos Celebrating Class of 2020 and Support for Education

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor congratulated the class of 2020 as they graduate during this unprecedented time. Because the usual in-person graduation ceremonies have not been possible, the video also provides the opportunity for several of Wisconsin’s valedictorians to share their thoughts and well wishes as their classmates complete their high school careers. State Superintendent Stanford Taylor also thanks all those who supported student learning during the public health emergency.