MADISON — School districts across the state will receive High Cost Special Education Aid payments on June 20 to reimburse a portion of the costs associated with teaching students with significant disability-related needs.
The aid to be paid to 162 school districts and one County Children with Disabilities Education Board (CCDEB) totals $5,754,103 for 951 students. Eligible costs are 70 percent of an individual student’s actual, additional costs above $30,000 not covered by other state and federal special education funding sources. Claims, based on services to students in the 2014-15 school year, were $8,850,589, which required prorating aid at 65 percent of eligible costs.
Examples of required services eligible for High Cost Special Education Aid include paraprofessional support, attendant care, or an educational interpreter. Other types of eligible costs include providing an extended school year, orientation and mobility training, specialized transportation, tuition for placements, or specialized programming or equipment that would not be needed if the student left the district.
“Every child is entitled to a free appropriate public education,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “High Cost Special Education Aid provides welcome support to districts and allows them to better serve students with extraordinary needs.”
High Cost Special Education Aid this year is made up of $3.5 million in state funding and $2.25 million in federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) discretionary funds that Evers allocated to this purpose.
The separate funding stream for High Cost Special Education Aid started in the 2003-04 fiscal year with the allocation of $2 million in federal IDEA discretionary funds. The 2006-07 fiscal year was the first in which state funds were budgeted to provide aid for students with high-cost special education needs. The 2015-17 state budget reduced the portion of a student’s costs above $30,000 that was eligible for reimbursement from 90 percent to 70 percent. The biennial budget also included an additional $5 million for payments that will be available for claims submitted in the 2016-17 school year.
NOTES: A list of High Cost Special Education Aid payments to local education agencies is in the official release. More information about the High Cost Special Education Aid program can be found online.