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When Will States Spend Their Special Education Stimulus Money?

The Department of Education generates regular reports on states and their stimulus spending. But it shows every education program, not just stimulus funds for special education.

So I took the most recent report, from August 6, deleted all the other programs and created a PDF file that shows where states are in drawing down their special education stimulus funds.

So far, about 43 percent of the Part B allocation to the states has been spent; that's the largest portion of federal funding for special education, and it's used for students ages 6 to 21. About 36 percent of the section 619 preschool stimulus grant money, which would be used for children ages 3 to 5, has been spent. And about 45 percent of the Part C stimulus grant for babies and toddlers has been spent.

Altogether, states received about $12.3 billion in special education funding, and have spent about 43 percent of it. States have until September 2011 to draw down the funds, but as my colleagues over at the Politics K12 blog have reported, some district-level officials report concerns that the money won't all be spent by the deadline.

In the realm of special education, state-level officials have been complaining for years that the federal government isn't kicking in its fair share for educating students with disabilities. But this July article in the Denver Post says that the slow spending is a matter of process.

Districts are spending the money on salaries, teacher training and contracting for services, as well as buying materials and even paying for construction. Denver Public Schools has been allocated $16 million in IDEA stimulus money but had used $4.7 million as of June 1, or 29 percent.

"We anticipate spending all of the money that is due to us," said John Simmons, Denver's executive director of student services.

"Structures are very strict in terms of how you spend that money. We will be slightly behind spending half of our funds this year," Simmons said.


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