Through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Department of Education is providing grant funds for states, local educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs), and early intervention service providers.
Part B Funds: $11.7 billion ($11.3 billion to states and $400 million to pre-schools) will be awarded in grants to ensure a disabled child's access to free and appropriate public education. These funds will be targeted at meeting each child's unique needs to prepare him or her for further education, employment, and independent living.
Part C Funds: $500 million will be awarded to the lead agency that each governor tasks with coordinating statewide efforts to address and provide early intervention services to the families of infants and toddlers with disabilities.
Half of the IDEA grants have been distributed to the states as of April 1, 2009, based on their existing 2008 applications for IDEA Part B funds. The other 50 percent will be awarded by Sept. 30, 2009, based on amended 2009 applications.
These limited-term IDEA funds are to be used for short-term investments that have the potential for long-term benefits, rather than for expenditures that LEAs may not be able to sustain once all Stimulus program funds are expended. Some possible uses of the IDEA funds are:
- Obtaining state-of-the art assistive technology devices and providing training in their use to enhance access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities;
- Providing intensive and district-wide professional development for special education and regular education teachers;
- Scaling-up proven and innovative school-wide strategies in reading, math, writing, science and positive behavioral support;
- Developing or expanding the capacity to collect and use data to improve teaching and learning;
- Expanding the availability and range of inclusive placement options for pre-schoolers with disabilities by developing the capacity of public and private pre-school programs to serve these children;
- Hiring transition coordinators to work with employers in the community to develop job placements for children with disabilities
Next Fund: Statewide Data Systems - $250 Million >