TEA appeal of federal ruling denied, costs $33.3 million

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Texas Education Agency lost a round in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit when the panel denied a request for discretionary review of a Department of Education ruling on ineligibility for funding.

The DOE found that the State of Texas violated a provision of the funding agreement between the two agencies and listed the state as ineligible for future funds until the matter is resolved.

The justices agreed and refused to reverse the agency’s order.

The matter deals with funding the government provides to the states under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and in this case, DOE says TEA fell $33.3 million short of the funding the state was supposed to provide under the act in 2012.

The agreement between the federal government and the states says, in the "maintenance of state financial support" or MFS clause, that states must not decrease the amount of funding they provide to special education from one year to the next, and any state that does violates the agreement and is marked as ineligible to receive future funding until the shortfall has been repaid.

“In this case, Texas violated the plain requirements of the MFS clause by doing so and was therefore ineligible for the corresponding amount of future Individuals and Disabilities Education Act Part B grants,” the Fifth Court’s refusal order says.