ARRA Frequently Asked Questions
View this document outlining different technology costs:
Federal program funding, Title I ARRA, Title II, D ARRA and IDEA ARRA may not be used for electrical wiring upgrades or basic writing costs because of supplanting. Title I Part A funds and Title I ARRA funds may be used to purchase the following technology items:
Note: supplement/supplant applies.
How many years will districts receive IDEA ARRA funds?
IDEA ARRA funds are provided only one time. IDEA ARRA funds are FY 2010 funds, regardless of when the district receives the grant award. All calculations for maintenance of effort reduction, proportionate share of funds for students parentally placed in private schools and coordinated early intervening services are based on both the regular and ARRA allocations for 2010. Reduction in MOE based on increased IDEA funding applies only to the increase of FY 2010 "school-age" funds over FY 2009.
If a district intends to use IDEA ARRA funding for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, should the entire amount be budgeted in FY 2010, or may a portion of the total be placed in reserve for FY 2011?
Although IDEA ARRA funds are FY 2010 funds and are provided only one time, due to the size of the amount allocated, districts may wish to plan to reserve funds to carry over for use a second year. IDEA ARRA grant awards have the same obligation period as all federal funds. FY 2010 funds must be obligated by September 30, 2011 and liquidated by December 31, 2011. Therefore, districts may reserve funds in their FY 2010 budget for use during FY 2011. The anticipated use of the funds placed in reserve, if known, should be described in the Use of Funds column in the budget spreadsheet, but the budget will be coded to indicate reserve. When funds are to be moved out of reserve, at a minimum, the ARRA plan must be revised and a budget supplement must be approved by the OSP.
Will waivers be considered for extending the date for liquidation of funds?
IDEA ARRA funds must be obligated by September 30, 2011 and liquidated by December 31, 2011. No waivers or extensions should be anticipated.
May professional development be provided for general education teachers who may be involved in co-teaching?
Yes. Professional development for the purpose of improving instruction for students with disabilities may be provided to general education teachers as well as special education teachers. For example, general education teachers and/or special education teachers may be provided professional development regarding instructional strategies and accommodations for students with disabilities in the general education classroom and co-teaching models.
May we use IDEA ARRA funding to pay stipends for the Special Education Teacher Leadership Academy?
May IDEA funds be used for construction?
Yes, provided they are for the benefit of students with disabilities and meet the requirements of IDEA and state facilities policy. For example, to use funds for a prek inclusive classroom, the plan would need to establish the need for this funding to benefit students with disabilities and how the features of the classroom would be designed to accommodate and benefit them.
May a bus be purchased with IDEA ARRA funds?
Yes, if it is a bus needed to transport students with disabilities to receive benefit from special education. Special transportation, include the special education bus driver and bus aides, may be funded using IDEA funds. The plan should indicate how the bus will benefit students with disabilities, special features of the bus needed to transport students with disabilities, if any, how the bus will be maintained and how it will be replaced when IDEA ARRA funds are no longer available.
May we use IDEA ARRA funds for a teacher academy for all teachers?
All IDEA funds are for the purpose of providing for the excess cost of special education for students with disabilities. Using IDEA funds for a teacher academy for all teachers would not be appropriate unless the purpose of the academy is to improve instruction for students with disabilities. IDEA ARRA funds could be braided with other funds for a teacher academy for all teachers for the portion of the academy that addressed the needs of special education students and those who teach them.
May we purchase presentation stations for our school using IDEA ARRA funds?
Yes, if the station will be used by primarily by special education teachers and students. Incidental benefit to other students would also be permissible, as long use by other students does not in any way reduce the use by or benefit to students with disabilities. IDEA ARRA funds may not be used for purchase of presentation stations or other equipment unless its primary purpose is to provide special education and related services to students with disabilities.
May administrative expenses, such as a clerk to track IDEA ARRA expenditures, be employed or contracted using IDEA ARRA funds?
(This question has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for clarification.)
Students Parentally Placed in Private Schools
Are preschool students in daycare counted as private school students for calculation of the proportionate share?
No. A district is required to calculate its proportionate share for students parentally placed in private, including religious, elementary and secondary schools (34 CFR 300.133). A daycare is not a school.
Districts must spend a proportionate amount of IDEA funds, including ARRA funds, for students with disabilities parentally placed in private schools. What expenditures are allowable?
IDEA funds must be spent only to provide services to students with disabilities in accordance with their individual services plans. Personnel, contracted services and materials needed to provide these individual services may be provided. Materials, equipment, property and supplies cannot be provided for the general benefit of the private school, and any such equipment or other property provided to implement services plans must be kept in possession and control of the public school district. Such property must be removed from the private school at such time it is no longer needed to provide services to the individual students. Transportation must be provided if necessary for the student to benefit from the services provided. (e.g., transportation from the private school to and from the public school to receive services). All these costs are included in the proportionate share. Child find must be conducted, but costs of evaluation for eligibility determination are not counted as part of the proportionate share. (300.133, 139,141,144)
If the private school and parents in my district do not want special education services, what happens to my proportionate share?
(This question has been submitted to the U.S Dept. of Education for clarification.)
If my district is providing speech therapy services to the private school, how do I show this in the budget?
If a portion of the therapist's FTE is dedicated to private school student services, that portion would be coded as private school expenditure (5xxxx). Likewise, contracted services provided to students parentally placed in private schools would be coded to the private school program function code.
What if we don't spend all of the proportionate share in the year calculated?
300. 133 requires the funds to be obligated for services to parentally placed private school students during a carry-over period of one year.
Must the consultation process be conducted with private schools prior to submitting the ARRA plan?
Yes, if at all possible. Schools must be consulted regarding the expenditure of the ARRA private school funds for services to students with disabilities. For example, you may want to reserve some for the second year instead of spending it all in 2009-2010. You would need to include this in your plan resulting from the consultation process. We are hearing that private schools are contacting counties to ask for their money. Of course, they don't get any money. The money is only for public schools to provide or purchase services to implement students' services plans. Districts having difficulty with this timeline should contact the OSP.
What if the private school doesn't want to sign written affirmation that the consultation has occurred?
The district should inform the schools of a reasonable date by which the affirmation should be submitted If the school fails to comply, the district forwards documentation of the process to OSP without the signature (300.135)Maintenance of Effort and Supplement, Not Supplant
What is maintenance of effort?
Maintenance of effort is the provision in IDEA that requires a district to budget and spend at least the same amount of local, or state and local, funds on students with disabilities in the current year as in the previous year. If the district maintains the same level of state and local spending year to year, then the IDEA funds spent for the excess cost of providing special education and related services is considered to be supplementing that foundation of state and local expenditures.
If we pay for a teacher out of state funds this year, and next year we pay for the same teacher from IDEA funds, are we supplanting?
IDEA does not require a "particular cost" test to determine supplanting. If the overall level of state and local funds, i.e., the maintenance of effort, is maintained, the specific expenditures are not scrutinized for supplanting, provided they are allowable expenditures under IDEA. Allowable expenditures under IDEA and IDEA ARRA are to pay the excess cost of educating students with disabilities, that is, the cost over and above what all students get.
To what funds does the reduction in maintenance of effort (MOE) provision apply?
IDEA, 613(a)(2)(C) provides that in any fiscal year district's Section 611 (school age) allocation exceeds the amount received in the previous fiscal year, the district may reduce the level of state and local expenditures otherwise required by the maintenance of effort requirement by up to 50 percent of the increase in federal funding.
The "freed-up" state/local funds may be spent on any activities authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, including Title I, Impact Aid and other ESEA programs and must track these expenditures for ARRA reporting purposes. Impact Aid is considered general aid to districts and may be used in whatever manner the district chooses in accordance with local and state requirements for both current expenditures and capital expenditures. Examples provided by the U.S. Department of Education include salaries for teachers and aides, textbooks, computers and other equipment, after-school programs, tutoring, advanced placement classes and support services to students at risk of school failure. Therefore, the use of the "freed-up" funds is very broad.
The reduction will be reflected in the amount of state and local funds to be budgeted for expenditures for students with disabilities. This does not include state aid to exceptional children funds (0201), which are dedicated funding for special education only. These funds must continue to be budgeted and expended for exceptional students only. IDEA funds must continue to be spent only for students with disabilities, unless the district budgets a portion of IDEA funds for Coordinated Early Intervening Services. Medicaid funds are considered unrestricted local funds rather than federal funds.
Who may use this reduction in MOE provision?
Districts may take advantage of this flexibility provided they received a determination of " Meets Requirements" under IDEA, Section 616 and are not required to reserve 15 percent of their funds for Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) under 34 CFR 300.646. West Virginia districts with a determination of "Needs Assistance" may not use this flexibility. These districts were informed of their determinations in a letter from Jim Brown, Office of Assessment and Accountability.
May a district use both MOE flexibility and Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) funds?
If a district wishes to use some of its IDEA funds for CEIS, it must subtract the amount taken in reduction of MOE from the amount to be budgeted for CEIS. This potentially can result in no funds being available for CEIS. However, the freed-up state and local funds could be used for the same purposes as the CEIS funds, and the CEIS tracking would not be required. The district must determine the amount of state and local funds to be budgeted for students with disabilities for FY 2010, and this amount must be reported in Line 13 of the MOE screen within the special education component of the online plan. An explanation for reducing the MOE must be provided. The reduction applies only to the FY 2010 allocation. However, the district is not required to raise the MOE the following year.
Is it best to take CEIS funds from freed-up funds or from the regular IDEA allocation, rather than from ARRA funds?
If a district uses the MOE reduction for the same purposes as CEIS, it would only track the funding for ARRA purposes. For example, the funds could be used for Response to Intervention of positive behavior supports. If a district uses IDEA funds for CEIS, taking it from the regular allocation instead of ARRA and tracking it only for CEIS purposes is recommended.
Is it true funds freed up through the provision for reducing the maintenance of effort (MOE) are no longer bound by special education guidelines and may be spent as needed by the county.
These funds are no longer bound by special education requirements and may be spent for purposes authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.
Does the LEA still need to spend a minimum average amount of state and local funds for students with disabilities as required by 300.202, even if it is taking the 50% MOE reduction?
(This question is being submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for clarification).
My understanding is 50% of IDEA funds were available March 2009. However, we were recently informed these funds will not be released until completion and approval of the IDEA ARRA plan, thereby causing these funds to be released in FY10. If we had been allowed to get these grant awards prior to June 30, we could address maintenance of effort issues in FY 2009.
This question appears to address two separate issues. 1) States received the initial 50% of IDEA ARRA funds in March 2009. Potentially, states could have begun the plan approval process and made a grant award to LEAs prior to July 1, 2009. WVDE made the decision to award funds to counties beginning July 1, 2009 given the unsettled status of the stabilization funds and need to track all ARRA expenditures. All IDEA ARRA funds and the IDEA regular school age and preschool allocations are FY 2010 funds, per the conditions of the grant award provided to West Virginia, regardless of the option to permit expenditures prior to July 1. For purposes of calculating set asides, the IDEA regular and ARRA funds are combined, and all are FY 2010 with an obligation period through September 30, 2011. Although the IDEA ARRA funds are coming to states in two separate grant awards (March 2009 and October 2009), all IDEA ARRA funds are considered FY 2010 funds and are coming to states only one time. Being allowed to expend funds prior to July 1, 2009 may have allowed counties to cover some budget short-falls, but this would not have addressed maintenance of effort issues.