The School District will receive federal IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – grant money for the 2013/2014 school year in the sum of $983,523. Director of Pupil Services Kim Carpinone told the school board at its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 6, that the money is provided by the federal government to offset the costs to school districts of educating students with disabilities. She said Londonderry uses the grant for salaries.
“We apply for the grant every year and notify the state Department of Education (DOE) on how we plan to use the funds,” Carpinone said. She said the amount this year is $74,027 or 5.21 percent less than in Fiscal Year 2013 because of sequestration, the federal mandate for reduced spending.
“We knew we were going to get hit with that and we did,” she said. “What is different this year, and there will be no impact on the general fund to cover the salaries in light of the $74,027 decrease, is that last year, for the first time, the DOE allowed carry-over funds. Previous to that, if the full IDEA grant was not spent, which can happen, the leftover funds had to be returned to the state.”
Carpinone said that leftover funds could happen because the district uses the money for salaries, maternity leave, or the Family Medical Leave Act, or someone left and a new hire was paid less.
“The state found out from the federal government that they could no longer do that and take the money back so all of a sudden last year, after I came to the board with the IDEA grant monies, new money showed up in our grant application in the fall, the same with all the other districts,” she said. “What we learned was that was now our carryover money.”
Carpinone said the district has carryover money that had not been anticipated, and it would cover the salaries that the decrease in the IDEA grant would have cost the general fund.
“For the preschool portion of the IDEA funds, we have been told the Londonderry share is $15,009, a decrease of $1,010.86,” she said. “We do not need to use carryover for the preschool salaries because we had some support staff leave and those that we have hired to take their place are lower on the pay scale. There is no impact to the general fund.”
Carpinone asked the board to approve acceptance of the grant. Board member John Robinson read into the record that there was a 5.21 percent reduction in the IDEA grant due to federal sequestration. “Sometimes it’s hard for me and other people here living our lives to see the direct input of the idiocy in Washington on things that we care about,” he said.
Board member Steve Young asked how the numbers trended in past years.
“We typically are always told to expect decreases,” Carpinone said, saying the reason is that less money is available.
“The formula they use to determine IDEA federal funding comes from FY 1999,” she said. “The formula is not clear. The formula has never been updated other than to now include the sequestration.”
The state DOE gets a portion of the grant as well. Carpinone said she did not know the percentage of that cut.
“They don’t redistribute any money that they skim?” asked board member John Laferriere. “Whatever monies that they allocate for the department is used to run the Department of Education,” Carpinone responded. Carpinone said the district’s carryover is estimated at $109,607, which is on top of the $983,523 grant.
The board accepted the grant unanimously.