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Another State Requests Waiver to Cut Special Ed Spending

It's official: This month, Oregon asked the U.S. Department of Education to allow it to cut about $15.7 million from its special education budget and not lose the same amount of federal money for students with disabilities—a double hit

Their request isn't totally a surprise. Earlier this year, I wrote that Oregon was planning to request a waiver from the so-called "maintenance of effort" rule that says states must keep special education spending the same from year to year, or increase it, regardless of the condition of their state budgets.

Seven states have made similar requests, though they haven't all been granted. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education waived the spending requirement for Iowa, Kansas, and West Virginia because of those states' financial straits. Waivers for Alabama, New Jersey, and South Carolina are pending. Kansas told me they plan on requesting another waiver, but the state hasn't done so yet and their budget is still in flux.

While other states aren't going as far as requesting waivers, at the district level, it appears special education programs are taking hits. In El Paso, Texas, there will be fewer special education teachers although there are more special education students. In New York, there are a number of worries about how state budget cuts will trickle down to special education.

What's happening in your state or district?

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