WASHINGTON —Alabama is one of a handful of states given permission to cut spending on special education this school year, a rare concession from Washington for states facing severe shortfalls in their state budgets.
State education officials had asked to spend $9.2 million less on education programs for disabled children than last year, a 1.45 percent drop.
In a response letter dated Thursday, federal education officials said they were willing to waive the insulation that special education programs normally have from cutbacks because the reduction was a fraction of the cuts made to the rest of the education budget.
Alabama reduced its overall spending on education by 8.41 percent in the 2010-11 fiscal year—8.46 percent in elementary and secondary education.
The federal governement will give the same amount to Alabama for special education:
If the waiver had been rejected, Washington would have reduced the amount of money it sends to Alabama for special education next year by $9.2 million. Washington said it expects Alabama to spend about $635 million on special education in the 2011-12 year, which would have been the budget before the waiver was granted.