U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is not recommending Congress pass any additional waiver authority concerning the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), reiterating that learning must continue for all students during the COVID-19 national emergency. Secretary DeVos did recommend flexibility to extend the IDEA Part C to Part B evaluation timelines as well as identified some flexibilities to fund these services. For a complete list of waiver recommendations and to access the full Recommendation of Waiver Authority report to Congress, click here. Additional information and updates will be forthcoming from the Special Education Team.
The Secretary is also not recommending Congress pass any additional waiver authority under IDEA Part B for fiscal compliance. For LEAs, this means the existing requirements for meeting LEA MOE compliance remain in place, and no additional exceptions have been added to address any shortfalls in expenditures due to the COVID-19 national emergency. The Special Education Team’s belief is that the majority of LEAs who were on target to meet MOE compliance for FY 2019-2020 will continue to do so, but all LEAs must be diligent and use the IDEA MOE scenario calculator to verify and plan if that is not the case. As a reminder, an LEA only needs to meet one of the MOE comparison tests to be in compliance. For additional information and a recorded demo of the IDEA MOE scenario calculator, view this technical assistance document.