Adam Dayan, Esq.
OSEP Changes Its Mind About "Maintenance Of Effort"
"Maintenance of effort" has been discussed on this blog in the past. It is the concept that a school district's special education spending, generally, may not dip below total expenditures from the previous year (though there are limited exceptions). 20 U.S.C. 1413(a).
The U.S. DOE's Office of Special Education Programs recently changed its position regarding what level of expenditure a school district has to meet in a given year, where it has failed to meet its requirements in the previous year. I am providing a link to the letter, Letter to Boundy (April 4, 2012), which concludes that a school district's maintenance of effort obligation is not measured against what the school district actually expended in the previous year, but rather what it was obligated to expend:
As stated above, there are some notable exceptions (e.g., the departure of special education personnel, a decrease in the enrollment of children with disabilities, the termination of previously-costly expenditures), which you can read more about at 20 U.S.C. 1413(a)(2)(B),(C).
* A number of advocacy organizations were involved in making this happen, including the Center for Law and Education, and COPAA.