Generally, IDEA-ARRA funds should be used for short-term investments that have the potential for long-term benefits, rather than for expenditures the LEAs may not be able to sustain once the recovery funds are expended. Guidance from the USDOE provided some possible uses of these limited-term IDEA recovery funds that are allowable under IDEA and aligned with ARRA core reform goals. These potential uses of IDEA recovery funds include:
NJDOE Priority Areas Consistent with the USDOE suggestions listed above, the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (NJOSEP) strongly recommends that in planning for the use of the recovery funds, each local district review its local district profiles to identity areas in need of improvement in relation to the New Jersey State Plan Performance targets. Additionally, NJOSEP recommends that local districts update their data systems, as needed, to ensure timely and accurate special education data submissions to NJOSEP. With a focus on improved teaching and learning and results for students with disabilities, NJOSEP has identified three priority areas that should form the basis of the district’s use of the IDEA recovery funds: Expanded In-District Program Options; Positive Student Outcomes; and Upgraded Data Systems.
Priority Area 1: In-District Program Options
Create and/or expand in-district programs options that maximize the opportunities for students with disabilities to be educated with their non-disabled peers.
Priority Area 2: Positive Student Outcomes
Plan and conduct program improvement and personnel development activities in response to local district performance on the indicators listed in the web site below. Districts should refer to the following website for the most recent data profiles that detail local district performance on these indicators: http://www.nj.gov/education/specialed/sppi0708/
Priority Area 3: Upgraded Data Systems Upgrade current district data systems through purchase of hardware and software systems to: improve student level databases; integrate special education and general education student level databases; design tracking and IEP applications; provide training for staff in using data systems for data driven decision-making.
Coordinated Early Intervening Services
An LEA may (or in some cases must) use up to 15 percent of its total IDEA, Part B Grants to States and Preschool Grants for early intervening services for children in grades K through 12 who are not currently identified as children with disabilities, but who need additional academic and behavioral support to succeed in a general education environment.
Uses of Funds Guidance
For specific questions regarding the use of ARRA IDEA funds please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: federal guidelines are subject to change and the department will post the most current information as soon as we receive it.