May 13, 2011
CDE Announces $3 Million In IDEA Allocations To School Districts For Achievement-Focused Work
Ed Steinberg, assistant commissioner for special education at the Colorado Department of Education, announced today the distribution of $3 million in supplemental federal IDEA allocations to school districts across the state.
“We want to flow these dollars with a minimum amount of paperwork and a maximum amount of impact, particularly on student achievement,” said Steinberg. “Dollars will be distributed based on the existing formula and we are asking only that the resources be used to support an achievement-focused project within the allowable uses of federal IDEA funds.” IDEA stands for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Recommended uses of the new allocations, said Steinberg, include professional development and training for staff to re-employing special education personnel affected by district budget reductions.
State departments are permitted to use a small percentage of the total IDEA grant for state-level activities (such as providing technical assistance to implement various programs). Steinberg explained that the $3 million was generated by cutting back on some of the planned 2011-2012 state-level school year projects in order to send more money directly to the field.
Funds will be distributed through the administrative units; some school districts serve as their own administrative unit (such as Jeffco Public Schools) and other districts are part of a consortium (such as the 22 districts that make up the East Central BOCES, or Board of Cooperative Educational Services).
“Federal projections for IDEA allocations for the next cycle of funding show a decline,” said Steinberg, “so it’s our intent to be as efficient as possible with state-level work so we can continue to keep funding to districts at current levels. Given the economic challenges in the state due to the recent recession, we know school districts need every dollar. We are doing what we can to ease the burden. The early reaction from school districts has been extremely positive.”
The current annual federal IDEA allocation to Colorado is $153 million, of which $137 million was previously awarded to administrative units. For a complete list of distributions to the 60 administrative units in Colorado, click here: http://bit.ly/jjsFIh