During the 83rd Texas
Legislative Session (2013), the Legislature appropriated funds for the Local
Educational Agency Risk Pool, Rider 36. These high cost funds (HCF) are to
assist local education agencies (LEAs), including school districts and charter
schools, in addressing the needs of "high need children with
disabilities" and the financial impact on the budget of the child’s LEA. The
Legislature further clarified that the use of these funds by school districts
and charter schools must not violate the least restrictive environment (LRE)
requirements of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, as
addressed in 34 CFR §300.114.
The State will reserve ten percent of the amount of funds reserved
for other State-level activities under 34 CFR §300.704 (b)(1). These funds will
not be used for costs associated with establishing, supporting, and otherwise
administering the program. These funds remain under the control of the State
until disbursed to an LEA to support a specific child.
Definition of a High Need
Child with a Disability:
A high need child with a disability has a
significant financial impact on the budget of the LEA due to the high costs
associated with providing direct special education and related services. The costs of each high need child must be
greater than three times the average per pupil expenditure (APPE), as defined
in section 9101 of the elementary and secondary education act (ESEA), to meet
eligibility requirements for a HCF award. The current APPE for Texas is $8,685.
A high need child with a disability would therefore cost the district more than
$26,055. Only costs associated with providing direct special education and
related services to the child that are identified in that child’s IEP are to be
considered in determining whether a child is a high need child. To determine
whether a child is a high need child, LEAs may track expenses from the
beginning of the school year or the date the services begin in the case of a
student who enrolled after the first day of school.
LEA Eligibility Criteria:
An LEA may request an HCF award provided that the LEA:
- Has not violated
the least restrictive environment requirements of IDEA of 2004;
- Has not lapsed
IDEA-B Formula or Formula Deaf funds from the previous school year; and
- Does not carry
over/roll forward 60% or more of its IDEA-B formula funds from the previous
The HCF Eligibility
Application must be submitted by the Special Education Director or a designee.
If the district is a member of a shared services arrangement (SSA), the application
must be submitted by the SSA Fiscal Agent. The application will be available to
LEAs on Monday, November 10, 2014 and will remain open until Friday, December
A Texas Education Agency
Secure Environment (TEASE) account is required in order to access and submit
the application. For information on how to apply for a TEASE account or for
assistance regarding TEASE issues, access TEASE
HELP or email email@example.com. Only
one submitter per LEA or SSA is allowed.
Use of Funds:
- The costs associated with educating a high need child with a
disability are only those costs associated with providing direct special
education and related services to the child that are identified in that child’s
IEP, including the cost of room and board for a residential placement
determined necessary, consistent with the least restrictive environment
requirements of IDEA 2004 (34 CFR 300.114), to implement a child’s IEP. The HCF
team may request a copy of a child’s IEP if there are questions about cost
items submitted in the application.
- Eligible LEAs receive discretionary residential funds to assist
with the costs for students with disabilities who are served in residential
care and treatment facilities. Therefore, disbursements from the High Cost Fund
for the cost of residential care and treatment will be limited to a portion of
the LEAs’ 25% residential set aside amount being used for the specific high
- These costs must be incurred during the 2014-2015 school year.
- The High Cost Fund must not be used to limit or condition the
right of a child with a disability who is assisted under Part B of the Act to
receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive
environment (LRE) pursuant to section 612(a)(5) of the Act.
- The High Cost Fund must not be used to support legal fees, court
costs, or other costs associated with a cause of action brought on behalf of a
child with a disability to ensure FAPE for such child.
- The High Cost Fund must not be used to pay costs that otherwise
would be reimbursed as medical assistance for a child with a disability under
the State Medicaid program under Title XIX of the Social Security Act.
- High cost funds are student specific and must be used only to
provide the services listed in the application for that student. No other
activities are may be supported by the use of high cost funds.
- Allowable costs:
- High Cost funds are child-specific, not program-specific. The
pre-populated cost items in the Non-Residential section of the HCF Eligibility
Application are allowable if identified in the child’s IEP.
- Salary of special education teachers and related services
personnel who provide services identified in the IEP must be pro-rated. Use the
pro-rating tool located in the "Additional Resources" section of the
- If a bus aide is required specifically for the high need student
and is identified in the child’s IEP, the aide’s salary is allowable with High
Cost funds and may be pro-rated if the aide is required for more than one high
need student on the bus.
- Write-ins (other costs) will be evaluated by TEA staff for
- All cost items must be clearly identified in the child’s IEP
- Unallowable costs:
- Indirect costs.
- The pro-rated salary of a bus aide, who is assigned to a bus
regardless of whether a high need student is a passenger.
- Diagnostic evaluations.
- Group therapy.
- Services provided by an LSSP or social worker unless specifically
identified in the child’s IEP.
CFR §76.731, Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR),
requires States and LEAs to maintain records to show compliance with program
requirements. LEAs must
create and maintain adequate and sufficient documentation for all HCF
expenditures. If the LEA chooses to use the funds for salaries, the appropriate
time and effort and/or certification reports will be required. By submitting the
application the LEA agrees to submit the HCF student’s IEP and any supporting
documents when requested by TEA. IEPs and supporting documents will be
submitted through a secure email system that requires a login name and
Calculation of the Award
Approved costs in excess of $26,055 will be considered for funding
Allotment and SHARS reimbursements, if applicable, will be subtracted from
the submitted costs for non-residential students.
- State funds
received through the SPE-106 submission process and SHARS reimbursements,
if applicable, will be subtracted for non-public day school students.
- An amount over
the 25% residential set-aside amount will be subtracted for residential
The final award will be dependent on the amount of funds requested
statewide and the amount of funds available.
Notification of Status
After the HCF Eligibility Application has been submitted to the
TEA, the TEA Division of Federal State and Education Policy will
begin its review process. Once all applications have been reviewed for
eligibility, the award amount will be determined.
An award letter or denial letter will be generated and mailed to the
Superintendent of the Single Member District or to the Superintendent of the
Fiscal Agent of a SSA. A copy of the letter will be mailed to the Special
Education Director of the LEA and to the Special Education Contact of the
Education Service Center (ESC).
The deadline to submit the eGrants application is July 15, 2015. Once
this eGrants application has been reviewed and approved by TEA, the HCF Notice
of Grant Award (NOGA) will be generated.
The HCF Eligibility
Application (to request an award) must be submitted electronically by 11:59 pm December
19, 2014. All HCF Eligibility applications received by this deadline will be
considered for a High Cost Fund award, subject to eligibility criteria. HCF
Eligibility applications received after the deadline will not be considered for
a HCF award.
The deadline to submit
the eGrants IDEA-B Discretionary High Cost Fund (SPED AH15) application (to
budget the funds) is July 15, 2015.
| High Cost Funding Team or email firstname.lastname@example.org
TEA SE Support or e-mail email@example.com
ESC Special Education Contact at your regional
education service center
(512) 463-7025 | eGrants
Help Desk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org