TITLE 16
Education

CHAPTER 16-24
Children With Disabilities [See Title 16 Chapter 97 – The Rhode Island Board of Education Act]

SECTION 16-24-6


§ 16-24-6 Special education fund – Allocations to communities.

(a) The state shall make available to the communities a special education fund to be appropriated annually for allocation to the communities for noncapital expenses for special education of children with disabilities in accordance with the regulations of the board of regents for elementary and secondary education. The cost of special education, including evaluation, support services, and training, including the cost of special education personnel, materials and equipment, tuition, transportation, rent, and contractual services, of the children in the program continuum placements provided under § 16-24-2 shall be paid by the state to the city or town at the same times provided in § 16-7-17 based on the financial and census data for the second school year preceding; provided, however, that the amount of the payment for special education pupils in each of the particular program placements shall not exceed one hundred and ten percent (110%) of the state median for special education pupils in that same placement. In determining the applicable state median expenditure for special education pupils for the purpose of this section, the board of regents shall under § 16-24-2 differentiate between types of program continuum placements on the basis of the amount of time a child requires special programs outside of the regular classroom to meet his or her particular needs, the ratio of personnel to pupils required for the programs, and the efficiency and economy of operating the programs. The board of regents may distribute the payments through the cooperative service arrangements provided for under chapter 3.1 of this title. The payments shall be made only after approval and certification by the board of regents that the payments are made pursuant to this section, that cost of special education has been determined and reported in accordance with the standard accounting and reporting procedures provided for in subdivision (3) of § 16-24-2, and that the program placements have met the regulations and requirements prescribed by the board of regents. The auditor general shall audit these payments and report, in writing, any exceptions to the board of regents and to the joint committee on legislative services.

(b) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall make a continuous evaluation of the operation of this section and at least once every three (3) years the board of regents for elementary and secondary education shall review the findings of the commissioner and shall make its recommendations in writing to the governor and to the general assembly.

(c) The general assembly shall appropriate to the board of regents for elementary and secondary education out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated for each fiscal year that sum needed to carry out the purpose of this section; provided, that for each fiscal year following 1987-1988, the total appropriation for this purpose shall not be less than eight percent (8%) over the appropriation for the preceding fiscal year. For each fiscal year commencing 1992-1993, the total appropriation for this purpose shall not be less than one hundred percent (100%) of the approved special education excess expenditures. All entitlements except those in § 16-24-6.2 shall be ratably reduced if less than one hundred percent (100%) of the expenditures appropriated. The state controller is authorized and directed to draw his or her orders upon the general treasurer for the payment of the sum or so much of it as may be required from time to time upon receipt by the controller of properly authenticated vouchers.

(d) This chapter contemplates that expenses for special education for children with disabilities will be determined in accordance with standard accounting and reporting procedures required pursuant to § 16-24-2(3), and will be separable from expenses with respect to which state financial support is provided in § 16-7-20; the same expenses may not be counted twice, that is, once for the purpose of § 16-7-20 and again for the purpose of this chapter. The allocations herein are subject to review and adjustment by the auditor general on the basis of more accurate census or other data that may be obtained by him or her.

(e) The department of elementary and secondary education shall deduct and retain the sum of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) from the amount appropriated under subsection (c) of this section. This sum, which will serve as the state match to federal funds, shall be used by the department of elementary and secondary education to enter into an agreement with the division of vocational rehabilitation to procure the services of vocational rehabilitation counselors for special education students in the public schools, and the agreement shall be subject to the approval of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1976, ch. 130, § 2; P.L. 1980, ch. 152, § 6; P.L. 1987, ch. 288, § 3; P.L. 1987, ch. 558, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 129, art. 18, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 65, art. 30, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 133, art. 43, § 3; P.L. 1993, ch. 426, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 26; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 26; P.L. 2001, ch. 86, § 42.)