As we start the new school year, let’s take this opportunity to go over items to be considered when claiming excess cost aid through the System to Track and Account for Children (STAC).
MAG reminds districts that they cannot claim for STAC and Medicaid reimbursement if federal funds are used to pay for staff salaries, benefits, contracted services or equipment. Districts will notice the positive effects on their revenue stream by implementing prudent grant planning strategies.
When constructing the 611 grant, keep in mind that the grant is designed to supplement, and not supplant special education offerings. Usually, small high-cost classes are core educational programs reimbursable through Excess Cost State Aid (STAC). The provision of appropriate related services and evaluations are also claimable through Medicaid. However, school districts need to be cautious because they must not bill for Medicaid for a service and/or evaluation that is paid partially or in full by Federal Funds.
In developing the 611 grant, districts should consider budgeting staff who are assigned to non-high cost education programs into Code 15 (Salaries for Professional Staff), e.g. consultant teachers and resource room teachers. Additionally, we recommend that general funds be used for related service providers of Medicaid claimable services.
Whenever possible, exclude self-contained teachers teaching small classes, 1:1 or shared aides, 1:1 nurses and related service providers, or any claimable contracted services from the grant budget. These costs should be paid through the general funds budget because they may be reimbursable through the STAC system if students’ costs exceed the threshold levels assigned by the NYS Education Department for your district. This also holds true for purchased services, Code 40 (Purchased Services).
In addition, consider using general funds when purchasing special equipment for specific students (e.g. personal FM systems, laptops or any other assistive technology devices, could be claimed through Excess Cost State Aid). If these items are purchased using federal funds, districts cannot be reimbursed through Excess Cost State Aid.
Please note that districts (LEAs) must comply with the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirement of 34 CFR 300.203. In essence funds provided to districts under IDEA Part B must not be used to reduce the level of expenditures for the education of children with disabilities made by the LEA from local funds below the level of expenditures for the preceding year.
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