Court Finds Texas Owes Millions, After Under-Funding Special Education

The state says it spent less because there were fewer special education students.

By Jill AmentNovember 9, 2018 11:52 am, , ,

Earlier this week, with much of the Lone Star State focused on the outcomes of the midterms, a federal court agreed with a lower court that Texas owes the federal government more than $30 million. The reason: how the state dealt with public school students who used special education services during the 2011-2012 school year.

Education Reporter Camille Phillips, with our partner station, Texas Public Radio says the state spent less than required on special education. The requirement is a condition of money the federal government gives to the state for that purpose.

“[State officials] argue that’s how much they needed to spend,” Phillips says. “They had fewer students in special education that year, and the level of services that school districts said they needed was less.”

The new disagreement between the state and the feds comes after Texas was taken to task for a cap on special education spending. The TEA ended the cap.

Disability rights advocates say the state should be held accountable, even if that means less money from the federal government for special education. Philips says the state should make up the difference with funds from the Rainy Day Fund, which is set aside for emergencies.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.