Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About ARRA - IDEA Recovery Funds

A7.How soon after a budget is submitted will it be reviewed?
A10.I don’t remember my password for the Special Education Portal. What should I do?
E4. What is the 50% rule?
E11. Where do LEAs report a reduction in required MOE?
E16. What effect does the voluntary expenditure of funds for CEIS have on reducing required MOE using the 50% rule?
E17. Is there an advantage to reducing MOE and not using IDEA funds for CEIS?
F2.For what purposes can funds freed up with the 50% rule be used?
H2.I am a district bookkeeper, how do I get access to the web-based IDEA claim form?
H3.Are there set due dates for claim submissions?
H14.Will there be any additional flexibility to carry-over unexpended regular IDEA funds to 2010-2011?

Top 10 Questions and Answers

A7. How soon after a budget is submitted will it be reviewed?

In most cases, a budget will be reviewed and approved, or disapproved and unlocked for amendment, within two weeks of submission.

A10. I don’t remember my password for the Special Education Portal. What should I do?

Authorized users may contact Linda Peterson at (608) 267-2063 or linda.peterson@dpi.wi.gov. She will reset the user’s password.

E4. What is the 50% rule?

This provision permits an eligible LEA that receives an increase in its IDEA flow-through allocation from one fiscal year to the next to reduce its MOE obligation by an amount equal to up to half of the increased amount (50% rule). The locally funded special education costs may be moved to the IDEA grant, freeing up local dollars.

E11. Where do LEAs report a reduction in required MOE?

LEAs that wish to take advantage of this opportunity must reflect this reduction in the PI-1504 SE budget report submitted for fiscal year 2009-2010. The reduction in required MOE must also be reflected in the 2009-2010 PI-1505 SE annual report submitted during fiscal year 2010-2011.

The LEA’s IDEA entitlement or IDEA recovery budgets would include the special education costs that have been shifted from local dollars to the federal grant.

E16. What effect does the voluntary expenditure of funds for CEIS have on reducing required MOE using the 50% rule?

When an LEA’s maximum MOE reduction is less than the amount that may be set aside for CEIS, the maximum MOE reduction is reduced by the amount expended for CEIS. For example, if an LEA has a $100,000 increase in its allocation and expends no funds on CEIS, it may reduce its MOE by up to $50,000. (100,000 x .50 = 50,000) However, if this LEA expends $40,000 on CEIS, it must subtract this amount from the permitted reduction in MOE. Therefore, the LEA may only reduce its required MOE by $10,000 (100,000 x .50 = 50,000 – 40,000 = 10,000).

However, during the 2009-2010 school year for almost all LEAs, the maximum MOE reduction permitted is greater than the amount that may be set aside for CEIS. In this instance, the MOE reduction is capped at the maximum amount that may be set aside for CEIS minus the amount expended on CEIS [34 CFR §300.226 (a)]. Expending IDEA funds on CEIS automatically reduces the LEA’s maximum MOE reduction to the same amount as the maximum that may be set aside for CEIS (15% of the Part B allocation). For example, if an LEA has an $800,000 increase in IDEA funds to a total of $1,700,000, it may reduce MOE by $400,000 if it expends no funds on CEIS. If it expends $10,000 on CEIS, the maximum MOE reduction permitted is $245,000. (1,700,000 x 15% = 255,000-10,000 = 245,000) A calculator to determine the effect of using funds for CEIS on MOE reduction is available at www.dpi.wi.gov/sped/xls/moe_calculator.xls. Detailed information on the maintenance of effort requirement can be accessed at http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_idearecovery#moe.

E17. Is there an advantage to reducing MOE and not using IDEA funds for CEIS?

Freed-up local funds may be used for the type of activities conducted through a RtI system without the restrictions imposed on IDEA funds used for CEIS. The funds may also be used for other activities unrelated to RtI.

F2. For what purposes can funds freed up with the 50% rule be used?

The IDEA regulations state the freed-up funds must be used to carry out activities that could be supported under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), regardless of whether the LEA is using funds under the ESEA for those activities. According to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education, this includes any activities allowed under Title I, Impact Aid, and other ESEA programs.

During a technical assistance webinar, OSEP indicated it is not aware of any specific activities that may not be funded. Their advice is based on the latitude LEAs have in expending ESEA Impact Aid. According to information from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, Impact Aid is

...considered general aid to the recipient school districts; these districts may use the funds in whatever manner they choose in accordance with their local and State requirements. Most recipients use these funds for current expenditures, but recipients may use the funds for other purposes such as capital expenditures.... School districts use Impact Aid for a wide variety of expenses, including the salaries of teachers and teacher aides; purchasing textbooks, computers, and other equipment; after-school programs and remedial tutoring; advanced placement classes; and special enrichment programs. [“About Impact Aid”, http://www.ed.gov//print/about/offices/list/oese/impactaid/whatisia.html ]

Based on guidance from U.S. Department of Education, we believe funds freed up using the 50% rule may be used in any manner LEAs choose, consistent with their local policies and state requirements. LEAs should be prepared to demonstrate how and when freed-up funds were used.

H2. I am a district bookkeeper, how do I get access to the web-based IDEA claim form?

Individuals who submit claims on behalf of the LEA must have a user name and password assigned to them to access the web-based software. District users are set up by the Director of Special Education. If you have not already been set up as a district user, contact your Director of Special Education as soon as possible to have this step completed.

The steps for setting up a district user can be found in the “Instructions for Submitting IDEA Entitlement & Recovery Fund Claims” located at http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/files/sped/pdf/idea-claim-process.pdf. If your LEA currently does not have a Special Education Director, contact Nancy Furhman at nancy.fuhrman@dpi.wi.gov to be set up as a district user to access the IDEA budgets.

H3. Are there set due dates for claim submissions?

Yes, although the due dates are different for regular entitlement funds and Recovery funds.

IDEA Recovery Funds

Claim Due Date

Expenditures Made From February 17, 2009 Through

August 21, 2009 July 31, 2009
December 7, 2009 November 30, 2009
March 8, 2010 February 26, 2010
June 7, 2010 May 31, 2010

IDEA Entitlement Funds

Claim Due Date

Expenditures Made From July 1, 2009 Through

October 16, 2009 September 30, 2009
January 15, 2010 December 31, 2009
April 16, 2010 March 31, 2010
September 30, 2010 June 30, 2010

H14. Will there be any additional flexibility to carry-over unexpended regular IDEA funds to 2010-2011?

It has been the DPI’s position generally that most, if not all, IDEA funds should be spent in the year granted. The DPI has permitted up to 25% of IDEA flow-through or preschool entitlements to be carried over to the next fiscal year. Local educational agencies wishing to carry over more than 25% of the previous year’s IDEA entitlements have been required to obtain from DPI written permission to do so.

For this year only, permission from the department will not be required to carry over more than 25% of the 2009-2010 IDEA flow-through or preschool entitlement to 2010-2011. All unexpended flow-through or preschool entitlement funds will be carried over into fiscal year 2010-2011. This action is being taken to provide LEAs greater budget flexibility in light of the unique situation created by the availability of IDEA Recovery funds. Please note funds carried over from 2009-2010 not expended during 2010-2011 will be lost.

For questions about this information, contact dpisped@dpi.wi.gov (608) 266-1781