This categorical aid program provides state funding for special education services to children with disabilities, as well as services to school-age parents. Special education aid is provided under 115.88 and 118.255, and aid for school-age parents falls under 115.93; both are funded through the same appropriation, 20.255(2)(b), and the vast majority of aid is for special education. Like equalization aid, this is a cost-reimbursement program that provides funding based on eligible costs in the prior year.
Eligibile Agencies: School districts, CESAs, CCDEBs, and non-district (2r) charter schools can receive special education aid under 115.88. Aid for health treatment related to particular disabilities under 118.255 is available to districts, CESAs, and CCDEBs (not 2rs) with an approved plan, while aid for school-age parent programs under 115.93 is available only to districts.
Eligible Costs: Only the excess costs of providing special education to children with disabilities (defined in 115.76) and school-age parents are eligible for categorical aid. Aid is available for the salary and benefits of licensed teachers, aides, and support staff, as well as transportation and a few other specific costs. Staff eligibility for categorical aid depends upon both licensure and assignment. The eligibility requirements for categorical aid are generally stricter than for funding under a federal IDEA grant.
- See our Expenditure Eligibility and Coding page for more detail on eligible costs.
Funding: Special education and school-age parents categorical aid is a sum-certain appropriation in the biennial budget. In both 2013-14 and 2014-15 the total appropriation is $368,939,100. Aid payments are prorated as total eligible costs exceed the appropriation; in recent years the proration rate has been in the range of 25 to 30 percent.
Payment Details: Aid is paid throughout the year over six payments. The first five payments are made on the third Mondays from November through March, each being 15% of the total amount under a conservative proration estimate. A final payment of 25% (plus or minus any adjustments after the proration is finalized) is made the second Monday of June. Revenue should be coded to Fund 27, Source 611.
PRELIMINARY 2014-15 PRORATION RATE
As of July 16, 2014, we estimate that 2013-14 state special education categorical aid-eligible costs will be reimbursed in 2014-15 at a rate of 26.85%. As with July 1 general aid estimates, this proration estimate is based upon submitted budget report data. A revised estimate will be determined in October based on annual report data and used for the November-through-March monthly payments.
2013-14 FINAL PRORATION RATE
The final proration rate for 2013-14 Special Education and School-Age Parents Aid payments is 27.10% of eligible 2012-13 costs. Districts, CESAs, and other LEAs should use this rate for determining final transits of aid against purchased service and tuition payments. June 9 aid payments will reflect this final rate.
SPECIAL EDUCATION ACCOUNTING AND REPORTING CHANGES
A memo went out via email on May 5 discussing the fiscal changes going on with special education. Topics include:
- Contract substitutes & aides eligible for categorical aid
- Guidance documents updated
- New Fund 27 Matrix
- Medicaid accounting guidance finalized
- Special education tuition
- Other report updates
FUND 27 MATRIX UPDATES
The Fund 27 Matrix on our Eligibility and Coding page has been updated to reflect WUFAR Revision 23. It has only minor changes compared to the previous edition:
- Object 310 added to 2567xx-series functions (contracted transportation). LEAs may code licensed, contracted bus aides to these accounts with project 011 under 2013 Act 255.
- Account 27E-291000-218-019 deleted.
- Account 27E-292000-220-019 added.
- Functions 436000 and 437000 retitled.
These changes are in effect for the current fiscal year (2013-14).
Licensed, contracted special education substitutes and classroom aides now eligible for categorical aid under 2013 Act 255 are coded to existing WUFAR account 27E-436000-370-011.
A more comprehensive revision to the Fund 27 Matrix was announced in the March 19 SFS Spring Finance Workshop presentation at the WASBO Accounting Conference. The revision has been posted to our Eligibility and Coding page and will take effect July 1 for the 2014-15 fiscal year as part of WUFAR Revision 24.
- Expenditure Eligibility and Coding
- Fiscal Reporting and PI-1505-SE
- Cost and Aid Payment Worksheets
- Categorical Aid Proration
- Longitudinal Expenditure Data