Superintendent's Memo #021-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

January 28, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Policy Clarification on Use of CSA Funds Under the Special Education Mandate

In May 1996 the State Executive Council (SEC) for the Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) adopted a policy which allowed the use of mandated funds under certain circumstances for students with disabilities served in the public schools. In recent years, concerns regarding the implementation of this policy were brought to the attention of both the Office of Comprehensive Services and the Virginia Department of Education.

To address specific concerns as they related to special education services, Superintendent's Memo no.018-10 was issued in January 2010. This memorandum emphasized the responsibility of school divisions to ensure inclusion in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) of all services necessary for the provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) and highlighted the inappropriate use of CSA funds for services necessary for FAPE.

As a result of continuing concern about the inappropriate use of funds under its 1996 policy, the SEC adopted new policy language on January 10, 2011, to clarify the original policy. The clarification will ensure compliance with Virginia statute that prohibits CSA pool funds from supplanting other funds and will eliminate confusion regarding the funding of school-based services. The new policy states:

The special education mandate cited in §2.2-5211 B1 may be utilized to fund non-residential services in the home and community for a student with an educational disability when the needs associated with his/her disability extend beyond the school setting and threaten the student's ability to be maintained in the home, community, or school setting.

The Code of Virginia at §2.2-5211 B1, referenced in the policy statement above, establishes that students with disabilities are included in the CSA mandated population when their IEPs require placement into approved private education programs, i.e., private day schools and private residential programs. Students whose IEPs do not require placement into approved private education programs are not included in the mandated population and thus, all special education and related services for these students are the sole financial responsibility of the local school division.

The intent of the SEC policy is to allow communities access to mandated funds to provide wrap-around services to students who are not in the mandated population as defined by the Code of Virginia. Through this SEC policy, communities may utilize mandated funds for non-IEP services when a student with a disability exhibits needs that extend beyond the responsibility of the public schools. The policy recognizes that needs arising from significant disabilities are not contained within school walls and may provide significant challenges to families and communities. The policy allows the use of mandated special education funds for services provided in the home or the community to the child and/or the child's family. The policy specifically rules out the use of these funds for services that are provided in the school setting.

The Department of Education and the Office of Comprehensive Services will jointly host two webinar sessions to discuss the implementation of this policy and highlight best practices for effective collaboration with the CSA system for students with disabilities. Session dates and times are as follows:

  1. February 8, 2011; 10:00 – 11:30

    Topic: CSA Funding for Students with Disabilities
    Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2011
    Time: 10:00 am, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
    Meeting Number: 489 880 131
    Meeting Password: SpedMandate01

    To join the online meeting, go to:
    https://vadoe.webex.com/vadoe/j.php?ED=145749742&UID=481104347&PW=NNmRlODMzZjgx&RT=MiMxMQ%3D%3D

    Audio conference information:
    Call 866-842-5779
    Conference Code 8042252675


  2. February 10, 2011; 2:00 – 3:30

    Topic: CSA Funding for Students with Disabilities
    Date: Thursday, February 10, 2011
    Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
    Meeting Number: 482 065 253
    Meeting Password: SpedMandate02

    To join the online meeting, go to:
    https://vadoe.webex.com/vadoe/j.php?ED=145750447&UID=481104347&PW=NNGVhMGJlNDUw&RT=MiMxMQ%3D%3D

    Audio conference information:
    Call 866-842-5779
    Conference Code 8042252675

For additional information, please contact Susan Cumbia Clare, specialist, by telephone at 804-371-2725 or via e-mail at susan.clare@doe.virginia.gov.

PIW/sc