Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has reached final agreements with the United States Department of Education (ED) to correct audit findings related to its federal Title I and special education (IDEA) allocations.
The finalized resolutions mark the end of a thorough review and recalculation process conducted by ADE staff and third-party, independent consultants since the findings and their underlying causes were initially identified in State Auditor General and ED audits. In addition to recalculating allocations, ADE has also implemented internal policy and staff changes to ensure that future funding awards are accurate and reliable.
Under the finalized resolution agreements, any underfunded schools will be made whole over a period of one or more fiscal years and no overfunded schools will be required to repay any monies. Final revised allocations for fiscal year 2019 will be available to schools before the end of September.
“I am pleased that we have at long last completed this process with the U.S. Department of Education, bringing needed closure to our schools and districts and building a solid foundation for our allocations process in the future,” Superintendent Douglas said. “It is a testament to the hard work of my staff that we were able to resolve these issues without any additional adverse impact to Arizona students. We look forward to working with impacted schools to ensure they have the support they need.”
Specific information related to the two resolutions is available below.
The resolution of this finding required a full recalculation of all Title I allocations for fiscal years 2014–2017, and the creation of an updated, vetted and validated allocation process for fiscal year 2018 and future years.
LEAs that were overfunded during the impacted fiscal years will not be required to repay any previously awarded funds as a result of the findings. All underfunded LEAs will be made whole over a period of one to four years beginning in fiscal year 2019. 90 percent of all underfunded LEAs will be made whole in one year. LEAs that were cumulatively underfunded between $100,000-$150,000 will be made whole over three years, while LEAs that were cumulatively underfunded over $150,000 will be made whole over four years.
Special Education (IDEA)
This resolution requires ADE to make entities whole for the affected fiscal years of 2015, 2016, and 2017. The repayments will begin in fiscal year 2019 and will be completed in fiscal year 2023, spread evenly over five years. School districts and charter schools that were overfunded will not be required to return funds previously awarded.