Claim Eligible IDEA-B LEA MOE Exceptions Every Year

Cindy Watson

The purpose of the IDEA-B LEA MOE allowable exceptions is to allow LEAs to reduce the level of their Special Education state and/or local expenditures below the level of those expenditures for the last compliant fiscal year. This means that exceptions lower the total expenditure baseline amount (the baseline/level amount) an LEA must spend each year from state and local budgets.

During the IDEA-B LEA MOE preliminary compliance review for each fiscal year, LEAs receive their preliminary compliance status and claim eligible exceptions. For an LEA that received a non-compliant determination, the result of claiming exceptions may bring an LEA into compliance with the MOE requirement or greatly lower the amount to be reimbursed because the claimed exceptions lower the expenditure baseline to present a more accurate picture of the LEA (the intended purpose of exceptions). For an LEA that received a compliant determination, the result of claiming exceptions will lower the expenditure baseline and ensures that the baseline/level amount is accurate. Eligible exceptions should be claimed every year, even if the LEA has been determined to be compliant with the IDEA-B LEA MOE requirement. Not claiming eligible exceptions increases the expenditure baseline.

A simple example of increasing baseline/expenditure amount as a result of not claiming exceptions:

Somewhere ISD purchased one special education bus, four years in a row, at a cost of $100,000 each.  Each year, Somewhere ISD received a compliant result in their IDEA-B LEA MOE compliance determination.  Because they were compliant, they did not claim the buses as exceptions.  As a result, each year their baseline/expenditure amount increased and now is overstated by $400,000 (4 x $100,000).  Claiming the buses as exceptions, lowers the baseline by $400,000, freeing up the funds to be spent elsewhere.

Unclaimed exceptions remain in the LEA’s baseline/expenditure amounts and accumulate over time, creating an ever-increasing baseline year after year.  To ensure the state and local baseline expenditures are not overstated with costs related to unclaimed exceptions, eligible exceptions should be claimed every year regardless of compliance status.

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